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By  A.  WOLF 




By  A.  WOLF 


VOL.    IX.) 
WILLIAMS    AND    NORGATE,    1 909 

By  A.  WOLF 

ROUTLEDGE   AND    SONS,    1909 


64  &  66  FIFTH  AVENUE,  NEW  YORK 














A.  WOLF,  M.A.,  D.LiT. 








-  \  ^c  \   "b 

AUG  2  3  1944 


THIS  volume  is  primarily  intended  to  be  an  introduction  to 
the  philosophy  of  Spinoza.  The  Short  Treatise,  though  by 
no  means  free  from  difficulties,  is  well  adapted  for  the  pur 
pose.  It  contains  the  essentials  of  Spinoza's  philosophy  in 
a  less  exacting  form  than  the  Ethics  with  its  rigid  geometric 
method.  The  Short  Treatise  cannot,  of  course,  take  the 
place  of  the  Ethicsy  but  it  prepares  the  way  for  a  much 
easier  and  more  profitable  study  of  it  than  is  otherwise 
possible.  The  Introduction  and  the  Commentary  provide  all 
the  help  that  the  reader  is  likely  to  require. 

At  the  same  time,  the  Short  Treatise  has  a  special  interest 
for  more  advanced  students  of  Spinoza  as  the  most  im 
portant  aid  to  the  study  of  the  origin  and  development  of 
his  philosophy.  And  their  needs  have  not  been  overlooked. 
Every  care  has  been  taken  to  give  a  faithful  version  of  the 
Treatise ;  notice  is  taken  of  all  variant  readings  and  notes 
which  are  likely  to  be  of  any  importance  ;  even  peculi 
arities  of  punctuation  and  the  lavish  use  of  capital  letters 
are  for  the  most  part  reproduced  here  from  the  Dutch  manu 
scripts.  And  the  Introduction  and  the  Commentary,  though 
largely  superfluous  for  the  advanced  student,  will,  it  is  hoped, 
also  be  found  to  contain  something  that  may  be  interesting 
and  helpful  even  to  him. 

The  Translation  was,  in  the  first  instance,  based  on  the 
Dutch  text  contained  in  Van  Vloten  and  Land's  second 
edition  of  Spinoza's  works.  Subsequently,  however,  I  spent 
a  very  considerable  amount  of  time  and  trouble  in  going 
through  the  manuscripts  themselves,  with  the  result  that 
the  present  version  may,  I  think,  claim  to  be  more  complete 
than  any  of  the  published  editions  or  translations. 

The  Life  of  Spinoza,  which  forms  the  greater  part  of  the 
Introduction,  is  based  on  an  independent  study  of  all  the 
available  material.  This  material  has  been  considerably 
increased  in  recent  years  by  the  researches  of  the  late  Prof. 
Freudenthal,  Dr.  K.  O.  Meinsma,  and  Dr.  W.  Meyer,  so  that 
the  older  biographies  of  Spinoza  require  correction  in  some 
respects.  I  have  also  utilised  to  a  greater  extent  than  has 
been  done  hitherto  all  that  is  known  of  contemporary 


Jewish  history  and  Jewish  life,  and  have  devoted  more 
attention  to  Manasseh  ben  Israel  than  he  has  so  far  received 
in  this  connection.  It  has  not  been  thought  necessary  to 
give  detailed  references  to  authorities,  because  the  earliest 
biographies  and  all  the  available  documents  relating  to 
Spinoza  have  been  edited  by  Prof.  Freudenthal  in  a  single 
volume  under  the  title  of  Die  Lebensgeschichte  Spinozas,  and 
the  evidence  can  easily  be  found  there.  For  the  general 
history  of  the  period  I  consulted  Motley,  Blok,  and  the 
Cambridge  Modern  History  ;  and  Graetz,  for  the  history  of 
the  Jews. 

In  the  second  part  of  the  Introduction  I  confined  myself 
to  such  a  general  statement  of  the  history,  &c.,  of  the  Short 
Treatise  as  may  be  followed  without  any  previous  knowledge 
of  the  Treatise  itself,  leaving  details  for  the  Commentary, 
where  they  are  dealt  with  as  occasion  arises.  By  the  aid  of 
facsimiles  the  reader  is  enabled  to  judge  for  himself  on 
various  matters  which  would  otherwise  have  to  be  taken  on 
trust.  In  the  preparation  of  this  part  and  of  the  remainder 
of  the  volume  I  found  the  writings  of  Prof.  Freudenthal, 
Dr.  W.  Meyer,  and  C.  Sigwart  very  helpful,  and  I  am  also 
indebted  more  or  less  to  the  other  writers  mentioned  on 
pp.  cxxvii/.,  or  in  other  parts  of  the  volume. 

In  conclusion,  I  desire  to  acknowledge  my  obligations  to 
all  who  have  helped  me  in  any  way.  Dr.  Byvanck  (Libra 
rian  of  the  Royal  Library,  The  Hague)  and  Mr.  Chambers 
(Librarian  of  University  College,  London)  have  enabled  me 
to  consult  the  MSS.  with  as  little  inconvenience  as  possible. 
The  Royal  Society  has  given  me  permission  to  reproduce 
the  facsimile  on  p.  Ix.  Prof.  S.  Alexander,  of  the  University 
of  Manchester,  has  read  the  Introduction  in  proof,  and  made 
valuable  suggestions.  I  wish  to  thank  them  all  very  cordially, 
and  I  hope  that  the  usefulness  of  the  result  may  in  some 
measure  compensate  for  all  the  trouble  given  and  taken  in 
the  preparation  of  this  volume. 


HARROW,  November  1909 






§  2.    THE    HOME    OF    SPINOZA  Xvi 

§  3.    THE    EDUCATION    OF    SPINOZA  Xxlv 

1654-1656  xxxii 

§  5.    THE     LAST     YEARS     OF     SPINOZA'S     STAY    IN     AND 

NEAR    AMSTERDAM — 1656-1660  xlviii 

§6.  SPINOZA'S  STAY  IN  RIJNSBURG — 1660-1663  Ivi 

§  7.  SPINOZA'S  STAY  IN  VOORBURG — 1663-1670  Ixviii 

§  8.  SPINOZA'S  STAY  IN  THE  HAGUE — 1670-1677  Ixxxi 




TREATISE"  cxxiii 

§6.    LITERATURE    ON    THE    "SHORT    TREATISE"  CXXvil 


Separate  Table  of  Contents,  pp.  9,  I  o)  I 


INDEX  241 



1.  THE   "SPINOZA-HUIS  "   AT   RIJNSBURG  Frontispiece 



(Conclusion  of  second  letter  to  Oldenburg) 

3     THE   STATUE   OF    SPINOZA   AT   THE   HAGUE  facing  xCVU 


5.  FACSIMILE   OF   PAGE    14    IN   A  Cxil 

6.  FACSIMILE   OF   PAGE   23    IN    B  CXlii 



Q.    PORTRAIT   OF   SPINOZA    AS   IN   CODEX   A  •>, 


10.  FACSIMILE     OF     MONNIKHOFF's     VERSES    FACING    THE    \iQandll 


11.  FACSIMILE   OF   FIRST   PAGE   OF   A  facing  12 

12.  FACSIMILE   OF   FIRST   PAGE  OF   B  14 




"  So  steht  es  vor  uns,  dies  Denkerleben,  ganz  der  Wahrheit 
geweiht,  und  darin  ebcn  beruht  die  Erhabenheit  seiner 
stillen  Grosse.     Denn  zu  sterben  fur  die  Wahrheit,  sagt 
man,   sei  schwer — schwerer  ist  es  fur  sie  zu  leben."- 
\V.  \YINDELBAND,  Zwm  Ged^chinis  Spinozas. 



BARUCH  or  Benedict  *  Spinoza  was  born  of  Jewish  parents, 
on  the  24th  of  November  1632,  at  Amsterdam.  At  that 
time  the  Jews  of  Amsterdam  consisted  almost  entirely  of 
refugees,  or  the  children  of  refugees,  who  had  escaped  from 
Spain  and  Portugal,  where  they  had  lived  as  crypto-Jews, 
in  constant  dread  of  the  Inquisition. 

Spain  had  been  the  home  of  Jews  long  before  the  intro 
duction  of  Christianity.  Under  non-Christian  rule  they 
enjoyed  considerable  power  and  prosperity.  With  the  in 
troduction  of  Christianity,  however,  came  the  desire  to 
convert  the  Jews ;  and  as  the  Church  was  not  very  nice  or 
scrupulous  about  the  methods  employed,  there  commenced 
a  series  of  intermittent  barbarities  which  stained  the  annals 
of  medieval  Christianity  for  many  centuries.  Fortunately 
for  the  Jews  these  persecutions  were  neither  universal 
nor  constant.  Bad  blood  broke  out  now  here,  now  there, 
but  there  were  usually  also  healthy  spots,  and  healthy 
members,  immune  from  the  fell  disease.  While  the 
fanaticism  of  the  mob  was  often  irritated  by  envy,  the 
fanaticism  of  princes  was,  as  a  rule,  overcome  by  their 
personal  interests.  For  the  Jews  of  Spain  numbered  some 
of  the  bravest  soldiers,  some  of  the  ablest  Ministers  of  State, 
and,  above  all,  some  of  the  most  resourceful  financiers.  The 
Kings  of  Spain  and  Portugal, accordingly, took  the  Jews  under 
their  protection,  though  they  could  not  always  prevent  out 
breaks  which  involved  the  loss  of  thousands  of  Jewish  lives. 
During  periods  of  respite,  Jews  outvied  their  neighbours  in 

*  Benedicius  is  simply  the  Latin  equivalent  of  the  Hebrew  Bafuch. 



their  devotion  to  literature,  science,  and  philosophy.  They 
produced  eminent  poets,  celebrated  doctors  and  astro 
nomers,  and  most  influential  philosophers.  Indeed  the 
tenth,  eleventh,  and  twelfth  centuries  have  come  to  be  re 
garded  as  the  golden  age  in  the  history  of  the  Jews  since 
the  dispersion,  and  that  chiefly  through  the  distinction 
achieved  by  the  Jews  of  Spain.  But  fanaticism  neither 
slumbered  nor  slept.  And  the  climax  was  reached  in  the 
year  1492,  when,  under  the  baneful  influence  of  Torque- 
mada,  the  Jews  were  expelled  from  Spain,  in  spite  of  the 
golden  promises  made  by  Ferdinand  and  Isabella  so  long 
as  they  needed  Jewish  aid  against  Moorish  foes.  Baptism 
or  banishment — such  were  the  alternatives  offered  to  the 
Jews.  And  those  who  preferred  the  wanderer's  staff  to  the 
baptismal  font  were  prohibited  from  taking  away  their  gold 
or  silver  with  them.  Some  two  hundred  thousand  Jews  or 
more  paid  the  penalty  for  their  religious  loyalty,  and 
wandered  forth  from  their  native  land,  the  home  of  their 
fathers  and  forefathers  for  centuries  ;  many  thousands  of 
them  only  to  meet  with  an  untimely  death  owing  to  the 
hardships  of  their  wanderings.  Some  fifty  thousand,  how 
ever,  chose  baptism,  and  remained  in  Spain.  Many  of  them 
remained  Jews  at  heart,  fighting  the  Jesuits  with  their  own 
weapons,  until  an  opportunity  should  present  itself  of 
making  good  their  escape  with  what  worldly  goods  they 
possessed.  Some  of  these  crypto-Jews  (or  Maranos,*  as 
they  were  called),  as  also  many  of  the  original  exiles  of 
1492,  found  refuge  for  a  time  in  Portugal.  But  only  for  a 
short  time.  Soon  the  hounds  of  the  Inquisition  were  on  the 
scent  for  the  Jewish  blood  of  the  New  Christians,  in  Portugal 
as  well  as  in  Spain.  The  most  frivolous  pretext  served 
as  sufficient  evidence.  Countless  converts,  or  descendants 

*  The  etymology  of  the  name  Mavano  is  uncertain.  But  it  seems  to  have 
been  applied  to  the  New  Christians  in  the  sense  of  "  the  damned,"  possibly 
in  allusion  to  i  Corinthians,  xvi.  22 :  //  any  man  loveth  not  the  Lord,  let  him 
be  anathema  maranatha. 


of  converts,  were  condemned  to  the  dungeon,  the  rack  and 
the  stake  without  mercy,  while  princes  and  priests  shared  the 
spoils  without  scruple.  No  wonder  that  the  eyes  of  Spanish 
and  Portuguese  Maranos  were  ever  strained  in  search  of 
cities  of  refuge.  About  a  century  after  the  expulsion  from 
Spain,  good  tidings  came  from  the  revolted  Netherlands. 

Not  content  with  the  wholesale  expulsion  and  slaughter 
of  Jews  and  Moors,  the  Spanish  Inquisition  turned  its 
attention  to  all  Christians  who  were  in  any  way  suspected 
of  the  slightest  disloyalty  to  Roman  Catholicism.  And  the 
work  of  this  "  holy  office  "  was  vastly  extended  in  scope 
when  the  religious  policy  of  Ferdinand  and  Isabella  was 
adopted  by  their  grandson,  the  Emperor  Charles  V.,  who 
desired  nothing  less  than  the  entire  extermination  of  all 
heresies  and  heretics,  so  that  the  world  and  the  fulness 
thereof  might  be  reserved  for  the  exclusive  enjoyment  of 
Roman  Catholics,  with  the  Emperor  at  their  head.  In 
accordance  with  his  policy  he  issued  various  edicts  for  the 
extirpation  of  sects  and  heresies,  and  introduced  the  Inqui 
sition  into  the  Netherlands,  with  which  alone  we  are  here 
concerned.  On  the  abdication  of  Charles  in  1555,  his  son, 
King  Philip  II.,  continued  his  religious  policy,  only  with  far 
greater  zeal.  Within  a  month  of  his  accession  to  the  throne 
he  re-enacted  his  father's  edicts  against  heresy,  and  four  years 
later  he  obtained  from  Pope  Paul  IV.  a  Bull  for  an  ominous 
strengthening  of  the  Church  in  the  Netherlands.  Instead 
of  the  four  Bishoprics  then  existing,  there  were  to  be  three 
Archbishoprics  with  fifteen  Bishoprics  under  them,  each 
Bishop  to  appoint  nine  additional  prebendaries,  who  were  to 
assist  him  in  the  matter  of  the  Inquisition,  two  of  these  to 
be  inquisitors  themselves.  Four  thousand  Spanish  troops 
were  stationed  in  the  Netherlands,  the  government  was  more 
or  less  in  the  hands  of  Anthony  Perrenot,  Archbishop  of 
Mechlin  (better  known  as  Cardinal  Granvelle),  a  kind  of 
Torquemada  after  Philip's  own  heart,  and  his  underling  the 


inquisitor  Peter  Titelmann,  who  rushed  through  the  country 
like  a  tempest,  and  snatched  away  whole  families  to  their 
destruction,  without  being  called  to  account  by  any  one. 
Fortunately  for  the  Netherlands,  William  of  Orange,  Stadt- 
holder  of  Holland,  Zeeland  and  Utrecht,  had  learned  from 
King  Henry  of  France  the  whole  extent  of  Philip's  bloody 
schemes  for  the  extirpation  of  dissenters.  Though  at  that 
time  a  Catholic  himself,  he  revolted  from  such  heartless 
inhumanity  in  the  guise  of  religion,  and  determined  to 
watch  and  wait.  In  the  meantime,  the  holy  inquisitors 
had  ample  opportunity  to  slake  their  unholy  thirst. 
Wedged  in  between  France  and  Germany,  the  Netherlands 
were  naturally  influenced  by  the  Calvinism  of  the  one  and 
the  Lutheranism  of  the  other.  Under  the  circumstances, 
to  give  unlimited  power  to  the  Inquisition  meant  practi 
cally  to  condemn  a  whole  people  to  death.  The  people  were 
furious.  Various  leagues  and  confederacies  were  formed. 
The  position  of  affairs  seemed  for  a  time  so  threatening  that 
the  Regent,  Margaret  of  Parma,  a  worthy  disciple  of 
Loyola,  granted  an  Accord  in  1566  in  which  the  Inquisition 
was  abolished.  But  this  was  only  done  to  gain  time  by 
duping  the  rather  tactless  malcontents.  The  following  year, 
1567,  there  appeared  on  the  scene  Alva,  the  most  bloodthirsty 
and  unscrupulous  villain  even  of  his  generation.  He  brought 
with  him  ten  thousand  veteran  troops  to  purge  the  Nether 
lands  of  heretics.  And  now  commenced  the  grim  struggle 
for  existence  which  was  to  last  eighty  long  years  (1567-1647). 
After  various  fortunes  and  misfortunes  the  seven  northern 
provinces,  more  or  less  deserted  by  the  ten  southern  provinces, 
leagued  themselves  together  by  the  Union  of  Utrecht,  in 
1579,  to  defend  one  another  "  with  life,  goods,  and  blood" 
against  the  forces  of  the  King  of  Spain,  and  they  decreed, 
at  the  same  time,  that  "  every  citizen  shall  remain  free  in  his 
religion,  and  that  no  man  shall  be  molested  or  questioned 
on  the  subject  of  divine  worship."  The  united  provinces 
managed  to  hold  their  own  under  the  leadership  of  "  Father 


William,"  the  silent  but  sleepless  guardian  of  his  country's 
fortunes.  Commerce  also  soon  revived,  for  Dutch  sailors 
were  more  than  a  match  for  the  Spaniards,  whom  the 
English  also  helped  to  cripple,  notably  by  the  destruction 
of  the  great  Armada  in  1588, 

The  Netherland  revolt  against  Spain  and  the  Inquisition 
was,  we  may  be  sure,  followed  with  keen  interest  by  the 
Spanish  and  Portuguese  Maranos,  who  had  their  relatives 
and  agents  in  all  the  European  centres  of  commerce.  The 
decree  of  toleration  included  in  the  Union  of  Utrecht 
seemed  to  hold  out  some  promise  to  them  ;  and  the  lot  of 
the  Maranos  was  not  likely  to  improve  (indeed  their  needs 
only  became  more  urgent)  when  Portugal  was  conquered 
by  Spain  in  1579.  About  the  year  1591  there  arrived  in 
Amsterdam  a  new  consul  from  the  King  of  Morocco.  The 
consul's  name  was  Samuel  Pallache,  and  he  was  a  Jew.  He 
commenced  negotiations  with  the  magistrates  of  Middelburg, 
in  Zeeland,  for  the  settlement  of  Portuguese  Maranos  there. 
The  religious  temper  of  the  clergy  made  the  negotiations 
fruitless.  But  the  Portuguese  Maranos  were  in  such  straits 
that  some  of  them  resolved  to  seek  refuge  in  Holland  without 
any  preliminary  arrangements,  relying  simply  on  the  natural 
sympathy  of  the  Dutch  with  all  fellow-victims  of  Philip  and 
the  Inquisition.  Accordingly,  in  1593  there  arrived  in  Amster 
dam  the  first  batch  of  Marano  fugitives.  They  had  sailed 
from  Oporto,  and  had  had  an  adventurous  voyage.  They 
were  captured  by  English  buccaneers  and  taken  to  London. 
They  owed  their  release  chiefly  to  the  bewitching  beauty  of 
one  of  their  number,  the  fair  Maria  Nunes,  who  had  an 
audience  of  Queen  Elizabeth,  and  actually  drove  with  her 
in  an  open  carriage  through  the  streets  of  London.  An 
English  Duke  offered  her  his  hand,  but  the  beautiful  Marano 
declined  the  honour,  being  determined  to  return  to  the 
religion  of  her  ancestors.  Such  was  the  spirit  of  these 
fugitive  Maranos  who  settled  in  Amsterdam,  and  secretly 
returned  to  Judaism.  The  secret  leaked  out  in  1596.  They 


were  celebrating  the  Day  of  Atonement,  at  the  house  of  the 
above-mentioned  Pallache,  when  their  mysterious  gathering 
aroused  the  suspicion  of  neighbours.  Armed  men  thereupon 
arrived  on  the  scene,  and  arrested  the  surprised  worshippers 
who  were  suspected  of  being  Papists.  But  when  it  was  ex 
plained  that  they  had  fled  from  the  Inquisition,  that  they  had 
brought  considerable  wealth  with  them,  and  would  do  their 
utmost  to  promote  the  commercial  prosperity  of  Amsterdam, 
they  were  set  free  and  left  in  peace.  Two  years  later,  in  1598, 
they  were  allowed  to  acquire  their  first  place  of  worship, 
though  it  was  not  till  1619  that  formal  permission  was  given 
to  the  Jews  to  hold  public  worship,  nor  were  they  recognised 
as  citizens  till  1657.  At  all  events  the  first  Jews  settled  in 
Amsterdam  in  1593,  and  others  soon  followed  from  Spain, 
Portugal,  France  and  elsewhere.  What  interests  us  here 
is  that  among  these  early  arrivals  were  Abraham  Michael 
d'Espinoza  and  his  son  Michael,  who  was  to  be  the  father 
of  our  philosopher,  Benedict  Spinoza. 


The  name  Spinoza  (also  written  variously  as  Espinosa, 
d'Espinoza,  Despinoza,  and  De  Spinoza)  was  most  probably 
derived  from  Espinosa,  a  town  in  Leon.  The  Spinozas 
lived  originally  in  Spain.  During  the  persecutions  there 
some  of  them  seem  to  have  outwardly  embraced  Chris 
tianity.  (As  late  as  1721  eight  descendants  of  theirs, 
living  in  or  near  Granada,  were  condemned  to  life-long 
imprisonment  as  Judaising  heretics.)  Some  fled  to  Portugal, 
others  to  France,  but  they  met  again  in  Amsterdam  as  soon 
as  it  became  known  that  Jews  were  tolerated  there.  Bene 
dict's  grandfather  is  twice  described  in  the  Synagogue 
archives  as  Abraham  Espinosa  of  Nantes,  from  which  it 


would  appear  that  he  lived  there  some  time.  On  the  other 
hand;  it  seems  that  Michael  (his  son,  and  the  father  of 
Benedict)  stayed  at  one  time  in  Figueras,  near  Coimbra, 
and  that  his  third  wife  hailed  from  Lisbon.  And  as  tradi 
tion  unanimously  describes  Spinoza  as  of  Portuguese 
descent,  it  seems  reasonable  to  suppose  that  his  father  and 
grandfather  came  from  Spain  or  Portugal,  and  that  their 
stay  in  France  was  only  brief. 

Very  little  is  known  of  Spinoza's  father  and  grandfather. 
They  were  merchants,  and  were  evidently  held  in  high 
esteem.  For,  already  in  1622,  we  find  Abraham  Espinosa 
filling  an  important  honorary  office  in  the  Amsterdam 
Jewish  community,  of  which  he  seems  to  have  been  the 
recognised  head  in  1628.  His  son,  Michael  Espinosa,  held 
office  even  more  frequently.  He  was  Warden  of  his 
Synagogue  in  1633,  1637-8,  1642-3,  and  again  in  1649-50, 
when  he  was  also  one  of  the  Wardens  of  the  Amsterdam 
Jewish  School,  and  presided  over  the  charity  for  granting 
loans  without  interest.  If  not  rich,  he  was  probably  well- 
to-do.  In  1641,  it  is  true,  we  still  find  him  living  in  the 
Vloyenburgh,  but  this  was  probably  not  at  that  time  the 
poor  quarter  which  it  became  subsequently.  Soon  after 
wards,  however,  he  moved  into  the  Houtgragt  (now  the 
Waterlooplein),  and  the  house  in  which  he  lived  the  closing 
years  of  his  life  looks  substantial  even  now.  It  is  num 
bered  41,  and  can  also  be  identified  by  a  stone  tablet  (placed 
there  in  1743)  which  bears  the  inscription  "  't  Oprechte 
Tapijthuis "  (the  upright  tapestry  house).  But,  whatever 
his  worldly  fortune  may  have  been,  Michael  had  more  than 
his  share  of  domestic  sorrow.  His  first  wife  died  in  1627. 
His  second  wife,  Hannah  Deborah,  the  mother  of  Benedict, 
died  in  1638.  He  married  again  in  1641  ;  but  his  third  wife, 
a  Lisbon  lady,  also  predeceased  him  in  1652.  The  year 
before,  in  1651,  his  daughter,  Miriam,  died  at  the  age  of  22, 
and  but  a  little  more  than  a  year  after  her  marriage  to 


Samuel  de  Casseres.  Michael  had  also  lost  three  other  chil 
dren,  and  only  two  of  his  six  children,  namely,  Benedict 
and  a  daughter,  Rebekah  (born  of  the  first  marriage), 
survived  him  when  he  died  shortly  afterwards,  in  1654. 

The  childhood  of  Spinoza  was  no  doubt  happy  enough. 
Until  he  was  five  he  would  be  entirely  under  his  mother's 
care,  as  was  the  Jewish  custom.  Then  his  school-life  would 
begin,  with  its  quaint  introductory  ceremonial.  The  cere 
mony  connected  with  the  little  boy's  entrance  into  school- 
life  was  probably  one  of  the  last,  and  happiest,  of  the  poor 
mother's  experiences.  It  was  performed  partly  in  school 
and  partly  in  the  Synagogue,  of  which  his  father  was  Warden 
at  the  time.  According  to  traditional  custom,  three  cakes 
of  fine  flour  and  honey  were  baked  for  the  boy  by  a  young 
maiden,  and  fruit  was  provided  in  profusion.  One  of  his 
father's  learned  friends  would  carry  him  in  his  arms 
to  the  Synagogue,  where  he  would  be  placed  on  the 
reading-dais  while  the  Ten  Commandments  were  read 
from  the  Scroll  of  the  Law.  Then  he  would  be  taken 
to  school  to  receive  his  first  lesson  in  Hebrew.  Some 
simple  Hebrew  verses  would  be  smeared  on  a  slate  with 
honey,  and  little  Baruch  would  repeat  the  Hebrew  letters, 
and  eat  the  honey  and  other  dainty  things,  so  that  the 
words  of  the  Law  might  be  sweet  to  his  lips.  And  then 
into  his  mother's  arms  ! 

Unfortunately  his  mother  died  when  Baruch  was  barely 
six  years  old,  and,  for  the  next  three  years  or  so,  he  was  left 
to  the  care  of  his  stepsister,  Rebekah,  who  may  not  have 
been  more  than  twelve  years  of  age  herself.  To  judge  by 
subsequent  events,  there  was  probably  not  much  love  lost 
between  Rebekah  and  Baruch.  For,  when  their  father 
died  in  1654,  she  did  her  utmost  to  prevent  Benedict  from 
receiving  his  share  of  the  inheritance,  and  he  went  to  law, 
though  he  let  her  keep  nearly  everything  after  he  had 
won  the  lawsuit.  At  his  death  also  her  conduct  was  not 


exemplary  ;  she  hastened  to  the  Hague  to  claim  her  inherit 
ance,  but  made  off  again  as  soon  as  she  learned  that  the 
property  left  was  hardly  enough  to  cover  his  debts  and 
funeral  expenses.  All  this,  however,  belonged  as  yet  to  the 
future.  In  the  meantime  one  may  well  imagine  the  pathetic 
picture  of  the  child  standing  by  his  mother's  grave  and  lisping 
the  mourner's  prayer  in  Hebrew,  which  he  had  but  just  com 
menced  to  learn.  For  nearly  a  whole  year  afterwards  he  might 
be  seen  twice  or  three  times  each  day  in  the  neighbouring 
Synagogue,  reciting  aloud  that  same  mourner's  prayer,  with  a 
mysterious  feeling  of  awe  and  solemnity,  yet  glad  withal  to 
be  doing  something  for  his  poor  mother.  Each  anniversary 
of  her  death  would  be  commemorated  by  a  special  light  that 
was  kept  burning  at  home  for  twenty-four  hours  in  memory 
of  a  light  that  had  failed,  but  was  believed  to  be  still  shed 
ding  its  rays  in  another  sphere.  And  the  solemn  days  of 
the  Jewish  calendar  were  only  made  more  solemn  for  him 
by  tender  memories  of  "  the  touch  of  a  vanished  hand,  and 
the  sound  of  a  voice  that  was  still." 

We  must  not,  however,  exaggerate  the  sad  side  of  young 
Spinoza's  life — though  it  certainly  had  its  sad  side.  When 
he  was  in  his  ninth  year  he  received  a  stepmother.  Being 
but  a  recent  Marano  refugee  from  Lisbon  she  may  not 
have  been  exactly  the  kind  of  woman  to  inspire  young 
Spinoza  with  any  specially  warm  attachment  to  Judaism. 
Like  so  many  Maranos  she  may  have  been  half  Catholic  in 
her  training,  from  the  necessity  of  outward  conformity  to 
Roman  Catholicism.  Still,  she  was  probably  kind  to  the 
children,  and  the  home  would  resume  its  normal  tone.  The 
Jewish  calendar,  moreover,  has  its  joyous  Festivals,  even  its 
frivolous  carnival  ;  and  a  good  Jew  like  Michael  Espinosa 
was  not  likely  to  neglect  his  religious  duty  to  be  and  to 
make  merry  on  these  occasions.  First,  there  was  the 
weekly  Sabbath  and  Sabbath  eve  (Friday  evening)  so  often 
and  so  justly  celebrated  in  verse — even  by  Heine,  in  his 


Princess  Sabbath.  The  spirit  in  which  it  was  celebrated  is 
perhaps  best  expressed  in  the  following  verses  from  one  of 
the  later  Sabbath  hymns  : 

"  Thou  beautiful  Sabbath,  thou  sanctified  day, 
That  chasest  our  cares  and  our  sorrows  away, 
O  come  with  good  fortune,  with  joy  and  with  peace 
To  the  homes  of  thy  pious,  their  bliss  to  increase  ! 

"  In  honour  of  thee  are  the  tables  decked  white ; 
From  the  clear  candelabra  shines  many  a  light ; 
All  men  in  the  finest  of  garments  are  dressed, 
As  far  as  his  purse  each  hath  got  him  the  best. 

"  For  as  soon  as  the  Sabbath-hat  is  put  on  the  head, 
New  feelings  are  born  and  old  feelings  are  dead  ; 
Yea,  suddenly  vanish  black  care  and  grim  sorrow, 
None  troubles  concerning  the  things  of  to-morrow. 

"  New  heavenly  powers  are  given  to  each ; 
Of  everyday  matters  now  hushed  is  all  speech  ; 
At  rest  are  all  hands  that  have  toiled  with  much  pain ; 
Now  peace  and  tranquillity  everywhere  reign."  * 

Then  there  were  the  three  Pilgrim  Festivals,  Passover, 
Pentecost,  and  Tabernacles,  all  of  them  essentially  joyous 
in  character.  On  the  first  two  evenings  of  Passover  espe 
cially,  children  play  an  important  role.  One  can  easily 
imagine  the  important  air  with  which  little  Baruch  opened 
the  domestic  celebrations  on  these  occasions  by  asking  the 
meaning  of  such  strange  dishes  as  bitter  herbs,  a  yellow- 
looking  mixture  of  almonds,  cinnamon  and  apples,  &c.  By 
way  of  answer  his  father  would  then  relate  to  the  assembled 
household  the  old,  yet  ever  new  story  of  the  bitter  lives 
which  the  Israelites  had  lived  in  Egypt,  of  the  bricks  and 
mortar  with  which  they  had  to  build  Pithom  and  Ramses 
under  cruel  taskmasters,  until  God  delivered  them  from 

*  Translated  by  I.  Myers  (see  I.  Abrahams :  Jewish  Life  in  the  Middle 
Ages,  p.  136). 


their  oppressors.  And  the  familiar  story  of  ancient  Egypt 
and  its  tyrants  would  soon  lead  up  to  the  more  recent 
barbarities  in  Spain  and  Portugal.  Possibly,  nay  most 
probably,  there  were  strangers,  guests  at  table — for  hospi 
tality  had  become,  not  a  luxury,  but  a  necessity  among  the 
wandering  Jews.  Perhaps  some  recent  arrival,  fresh  from 
the  hell-fires  of  the  Inquisition,  would  relate  the  latest  story 
of  martyrdom.  On  such  an  occasion  it  may  have  been  that 
Spinoza  heard  of  the  martyrdom  of  "  a  certain  Judah,  called 
the  Faithful,  who  in  the  midst  of  the  flames,  and  when  he 
was  already  believed  to  be  dead,  commenced  to  chant  the 
psalm  To  thee,  0  God,  I  commit  my  Soul,  and  died  singing 
it."*  But  the  ground-notes  of  the  Passover  evening  cele 
brations  were  those  of  courage,  and  faith  that  the  Guardian 
of  Israel  neither  slumbered  nor  slept. 

There  were  also  other  celebrations  of  Israel's  deliverance 
in  the  past.  There  was  the  Feast  of  Lights,  or  of  the  Re- 
dedication  of  the  Temple  (Chanukah)  in  memory  of  the 
brave  Maccabees.  A  whole  week  was  more  or  less  spent  as 
a  half-holiday,  and  given  to  games  and  merriment.  The 
spirit  of  the  holiday  is  well  expressed  in  a  gay  table-hymn 
composed  by  Ibn  Ezra,  the  poet  and  commentator  of  whom 
Spinoza  thought  so  highly.  The  following  are  the  opening 

stanzas  : 

"  Eat  dainty  foods  and  fine, 

And  bread  baked  well  and  white, 
With  pigeons,  and  red  wine, 

On  this  Sabbath  Chanukah  night. 

"  Your  chattels  and  your  lands 

Go  and  pledge,  go  and  sell  ! 
Put  money  in  your  hands, 
To  feast  Chanukah  well !  "  f 

*  Epistle  76.    The  incident  took  place  at  Valladolid  on  the  25th  of  July 
1644.  -j-  See  I.  Abrahams,  op.  cit.  p.  135. 


Then  there  was  the  Feast  of  Lots  (Purim)  in  celebration 
of  Israel's  escape  from  the  evil  designs  of  Haman,  as  told 
in  the  Book  of  Esther.  As  the  life  of  the  Jew  would  be 
come  intolerably  solemn  if  all  his  persecutors  were  taken 
seriously,  Haman  was  treated  more  like  a  clown  than  a 
villain,  and  the  half-holiday  associated  with  his  name  was 
celebrated  as  a  kind  of  carnival,  when  it  was  deemed  wrong 
to  be  staid,  and  when  wits  were  readily  indulged  in  parody 
ing  even  Rabbis  and  prayers,  and  had  ample  licence  to 
make  fools  of  themselves  and  of  others.  Above  all  it  was 
the  occasion  for  plays,  Purim  plays,  as  they  were  called. 
At  that  time  these  were  not  yet  set  plays,  but  informal 
buffooneries  linked  to  the  story  of  Ahasuerus  and  Haman, 
or,  by  way  of  variety,  turning  on  the  story  of  the  Sale  of 
Joseph,  or  David's  encounter  with  Goliath,  and  the  like. 
On  one  such  occasion  Spinoza  may  have  witnessed  a  play 
written  by  one  of  his  senior  school-fellows,  Moses  Zacuto, 
whose  L 'Inferno  Figurato  (written  in  Hebrew)  expressed  the 
writer's  scorn  of  the  Inquisition.  The  hero  of  the  story 
was  Abraham,  whose  steadfastness  against  Nimrod  and 
legendary  escape  from  the  fiery  furnace  were  meant  to 
typify  the  Jewish  fortunes  in  Spain. 

Lastly,  mention  may  also  be  made  of  what  may  roughly 
be  described  as  a  kind  of  Confirmation  ceremony  when 
Spinoza  completed  his  thirteenth  year.  On  that  Sabbath 
he  would  chant  aloud  in  the  Synagogue  a  portion  of  the 
Law,  or  Pentateuch,  and  possibly  also  the  portion  from 
the  Prophets  appointed  to  be  read  on  that  day.  After  the 
service  in  the  Synagogue,  his  father  would  entertain  all  his 
friends  at  home  in  honour  of  the  occasion,  and  young 
Baruch  would,  according  to  custom,  make  a  speech  at 
table.  This  speech  would,  of  course,  have  been  carefully 
prepared  by  him  for  the  occasion,  not  without  the  assist 
ance  of  his  teacher ;  and  filial  gratitude  for  the  past  and 
lavish  promises  for  the  future  would  begin  and  end  a  more 


or  less  learned  discourse.  One  would  like  to  know  what 
he  actually  did  say,  and  what  he  thought  of  it  all  after 
wards  ! 

In  the  meanwhile  his  time  must  have  been  fully  occupied. 
He  was  at  school  from  8  till  n  each  morning,  and  from  2 
till  5  in  the  afternoon  on  weekdays  ;  and  some  of  the  hours 
when  he  was  not  at  school  were  occupied  in  school  prepara 
tion,  and  also  in  the  study  of  secular  subjects  under  a 
private  teacher  or  teachers.  Most  probably  he  continued 
to  study  at  the  Jewish  school  or  academy  until  he  was 
eighteen,  so  as  to  give  him  an  opportunity  to  develop  that 
uncommon  ability  of  which  he  showed  unmistakable  signs 
at  the  age  of  fifteen  in  the  perplexing  questions  which  he 
asked  of  Rabbi  Morteira.  At  eighteen  it  was  high  time  to 
think  of  a  means  of  livelihood.  His  brother,  or  half-brother, 
Isaac  died  just  about  that  time.  His  father  may  have  thought 
of  taking  him  into  business.  But  Spinoza's  tastes  did  not  lie 
in  the  direction  of  business.  He  preferred  to  seek  the  means 
of  support  in  some  occupation  that  would  keep  him  in  touch 
with  science  and  scholarship.  This  probably  determined  him 
to  learn  the  art  of  polishing  lenses,  which  was  taken  up  by 
many  learned  men  of  his  generation.  By  that  time  he  may 
already  have  shown  some  of  his  heretical  tendencies,  and 
these  may  have  given  rise  to  some  little  friction  at  home. 
Possibly  this  was  the  reason  why  his  half-sister  Rebekah 
and  his  brother-in-law  de  Casseres  tried  soon  afterwards  to 
exclude  him  from  his  share  of  the  property  which  his 
father  left  when  he  died.  Spinoza,  however,  could  scarcely 
have  been  so  inconsiderate  as  to  cause  his  father  unneces 
sary  pain,  and  most  probably  he  kept  most  of  his  doubts  to 
himself,  and  remained  in  his  father's  house  so  long  as  his 
father  lived,  that  is  to  say,  till  March  1654,  when  he  was 
in  his  twenty-second  year. 



The  general  features  of  Spinoza's  early  education  it  is 
not  difficult  to  delineate.  The  Amsterdam  Jewish  com 
munity  had  their  own  boys'  school,  which  was  founded 
about  1638,  and  which  all  Jewish  boys  would  attend  as  a 
matter  of  course.  The  general  curriculum  of  this  school  is 
known  from  contemporary  accounts.  We  also  know  the 
names  and  characters  of  some  of  its  most  important 
teachers  in  the  time  of  Spinoza.  There  were  seven 
classes  in  the  school.  In  the  lowest  class  little  boys  were 
taught  to  read  their  prayers  in  Hebrew.  In  the  second 
class  they  learned  to  read  and  chant  the  Pentateuch  in 
Hebrew.  In  the  next  class  they  were  taught  to  translate 
parts  of  the  Pentateuch  from  Hebrew  into  Spanish  (which 
for  a  long  time  continued  to  be  the  mother-tongue  of  many 
Amsterdam  Jews,  notwithstanding  the  worse  than  step 
motherly  treatment  which  had  been  meted  out  to  them  and 
their  fathers  in  Spain).  Here  also  they  commenced  to 
study  Rashi's  Hebrew  Commentary  on  the  Pentateuch — a 
commentary  written  in  the  eleventh  century,  but  sober  far 
beyond  its  age.  The  boys  in  the  fourth  class  studied  the 
Prophets  and  the  Hagiographa.  In  the  remaining  higher 
classes  they  studied  Hebrew  Grammar,  portions  of  the 
Talmud  and  of  the  later  Hebrew  Codes,  the  works  of  Ibn 
Ezra,  Maimonides,  and  others,  according  to  the  discretion 
of  the  Rabbi  who  instructed  and  advised  them.  The  school 
hours  were  from  8  till  1 1  A.M.  and  from  2  till  5  P.M.  (or  earlier 
during  the  winter  months).  We  are  explicitly  informed 
that  during  the  hours  that  the  boys  were  at  home  they  would 
receive  private  tuition  in  secular  subjects,  even  in  verse- 
making.  The  school  also  possessed  a  good  lending  library. 

Of  the  teachers  under  whose  influence  Spinoza  must 
have  come  during  his  school-days,  the  most  important 


undoubtedly  were  Rabbi  Saul  Morteira  and  Rabbi  Manasseh 
ben  Israel.  Saul  Morteira  was  the  senior  Rabbi  of  Amster 
dam.  Born  in  Venice  about  1596  he  studied  medicine 
under  Montalto,  the  Marano  Court  physician  of  Maria  de' 
Medici.  Montalto  died  suddenly  while  accompanying 
Louis  XIII.  to  Tours,  in  1616,  and  it  was  the  desire  to 
bury  Montalto  in  a  Jewish  cemetery  that  brought  Saul 
Morteira  to  Amsterdam,  where  the  Jews  had  only  recently 
(1614)  acquired  a  cemetery  in  Ouwerkerk  (also  called 
Ouderkerk),  not  very  far  from  the  city.  While  in 
Amsterdam,  Morteira  accepted  a  call  to  the  Rabbinate  of 
the  older  of  the  two  Synagogues  there  (the  House  of  Jacob). 
A  third  Synagogue  came  into  existence  two  years  later,  but  in 
1638  the  three  Synagogues  were  amalgamated,  and  Morteira 
acted  as  the  senior  or  presiding  Rabbi  till  his  death,  in 
1660.  Morteira  had  had  a  taste  of  Court  life,  and  was  not 
altogether  wanting  in  philosophical  appreciation  ;  but  he 
was  essentially  medieval,  strait-laced,  prosy,  and  uninspir 
ing.  It  is  related  that  when  Spinoza  was  but  fifteen  years 
old  Morteira  marvelled  at  the  boy's  acumen.  By  an  irony 
of  fate  he  also  presided  over  the  court  of  Rabbis  who  issued 
the  ban  against  Spinoza  in  1656. 

In  Manasseh  ben  Israel  we  have  a  different  type  of 
character  altogether.  He  was  born  in  1604,  and  had  a 
tragic  infancy.  His  father,  Joseph  ben  Israel,  was  one  of  a 
hundred  and  fifty  Jews  whom  the  Inquisition  in  Lisbon  was 
about  to  consign  to  the  flames,  in  1605,  when  Mammon  was 
successfully  enlisted  against  the  priests  of  Moloch.  A 
million  gold  florins,  eight  hundred  thousand  ducats,  and 
five  hundred  thousand  crusados  were  paid  to  King  Philip  III., 
a  hundred  thousand  crusados  to  the  saintly  ecclesiastics, 
and  they  became  reconciled  to  spare  their  victims  the 
flames  of  hell  on  earth  even  if  it  should  entail  their  loss  of 
heaven  hereafter.  At  the  auto-da-fe  in  January  1605  the 
unhappy  Jews  were  paraded  in  penitential  garb  and 


made  a  formal  confession  of  their  secret  and  most  sinful 
loyalty  to  the  religion  of  Jesus  and  of  the  Prophets.  The 
King  graciously  obtained  papal  absolution  for  their  heinous 
crime,  and  they  were  dismissed — alive,  it  is  true,  but  wrecked 
in  health  by  torture,  and  robbed  of  their  possessions  by 
Catholic  king  and  holy  priests.  Joseph  ben  Israel  naturally 
fled,  at  the  very  first  opportunity,  with  his  wife  and  their 
infant  son  Manasseh.  They  went  to  Amsterdam,  where 
Manasseh  lived  nearly  all  his  life.  He  succeeded  his  teacher, 
Rabbi  Uzziel,  as  Rabbi  of  the  second  Amsterdam  Synagogue 
(the  Habitation  of  Peace)  in  1622,  when  he  was  barely 
eighteen  years  old  ;  started  a  Hebrew  printing-house  about 
the  year  1627  ;  and  in  1640  he  was  about  to  emigrate  to 
Brazil  when  he  received  an  important  appointment  in  the 
senior  department  of  the  Amsterdam  Jewish  School,  where 
Spinoza  must  have  come  under  his  influence.  Manasseh 
was  not  a  great  thinker,  but  he  was  a  great  reader,  and 
made  up  in  breadth  of  outlook  for  what  he  lacked  in  depth 
of  insight.  Like  so  many  contemporary  theologians  he  was 
inclined  towards  mysticism,  it  is  true,  but  there  was  a  touch 
of  romance  in  his  character,  and,  urged  by  an  irresistible 
yearning  to  help  his  suffering  brethren,  his  very  mysticism 
with  all  its  puerilities  played  a  useful  part :  it  prompted 
him  to  schemes  which  may  indeed  appear  quixotic,  which 
certainly  brought  his  life  to  an  untimely  end,  but  which 
bore  fruit  nevertheless,  and  were  well  adapted  to  bear  fruit 
in  an  age  in  which  religion  and  superstition,  the  flame  and 
the  smoke,  were  so  curiously  intermingled.  What  he  con 
ceived  to  be  the  mission  of  his  life  is  indicated  in  the 
Biblical  verse  with  which  he  headed  the  dedication  of 
his  Hope  of  Israel  (1650).  The  book,  it  is  interesting  to 
observe,  was  dedicated  to  Spinoza's  father  and  the  other 
Wardens  of  the  Jewish  school.  At  the  head  of  the  dedica 
tion  is  the  first  verse  from  Isaiah  xli.  :  To  preach  good  tidings 
unto  the  meek  ;  he  hath  sent  me  to  bind  up  the  broken-hearted. 


In  1655  Manasseh  came  to  England  on  a  special  mission 
to  Oliver  Cromwell  for  the  readmission  of  the  Jews  into 
England.  Two  years  later  he  returned  to  the  Netherlands, 
carrying  with  him  the  corpse  of  his  eldest  son.  His  great 
schemes  seemed  shattered.  Poor,  prematurely  aged,  and 
full  of  sorrows  he  died,  at  Middelburg,  in  1657. 

Manasseh  ben  Israel  was  a  prolific  writer,  and  his  books 
show  undeniable  evidence  of  very  wide  reading  and  extra 
ordinary  industry.  He  cites  not  only  Jewish  writers  like 
Ibn  Gabriol  and  Maimonides,  but  also  Euripides  and  Virgil, 
Plato  and  Aristotle,  Duns  Scotus  and  Albertus  Magnus. 
Poets  and  legalists,  mystics  and  rationalists — he  had  an 
appreciation  for  all,  if  not  always  a  very  intelligent  apprecia 
tion.  And  he  rather  prided  himself  on  his  secular  know 
ledge,  and  felt  flattered  when  he  was  described,  not  simply 
as  a  "  theologian,"  but  also  as  a  "  philosopher  "  and  "  Doctor 
of  Physics."  On  a  portrait  engraved  in  1642  he  is  described 
as  "Theologicus  et  Philosophus  Hebraeus."  *  Moreover 
he  had  numerous  Christian  acquaintances  and  friends,  and 
corresponded  with  learned  men  and  women  in  all  parts  of 
Europe — even  with  Queen  Christina  of  Sweden,  and  Hugo 
Grotius,  the  famous  statesman,  jurist  and  historian.  In 
various  letters  to  Vossius,  Grotius  expressed  his  great  and 
sincere  esteem  of  Manasseh.  Gerhard  Vossius,  "  the  greatest 
polyhistor  of  the  Netherlands,"  was  on  intimate  terms  with 
Manasseh,  and  visited  him  often.  Nor  was  Manasseh  at  all 
intolerant.  He  was  very  friendly  with  Caspar  Barlaeus,  the 
Amsterdam  Professor  of  Philosophy  and  Rhetoric,  who 
was  rather  suspected  of  being  a  free-thinker.  Barlaeus  was 
a  noted  Latin  scholar  and  poet,  and  prefixed  to  one  of 
Manasseh's  books  (De  Creatione)  a  Latin  poem  which  was 

*  Over  this  portrait,  it  is  interesting  to  note,  are  also  the  words  Peregri- 
nandoiQuterimus,  which  formed  the  motto  or  trade-mark  of  Manasseh's 
press ;  in  the  top  left  corner  there  is  a  small  shield  with  a  picture  of  a 
pilgrim  carrying  a  staff  and  lamp,  while  in  the  right  corner  are  the  Hebrew 
words  for  Thy  word  is  a  lamp  unto  my  feet  (Psalm  cxix.  105). 


scarcely  orthodox.  We  also  hear  of  Manasseh's  presence 
at  a  merry  gathering  in  the  house  of  Episcopius  in  honour 
of  Sobierre,  a  noted  French  wit.  On  occasion,  Manasseh 
would  also  introduce  some  of  his  Jewish  friends  to  his 
Christian  acquaintances.  In  one  of  his  letters  to  a  Professor 
at  Leyden,  Vossius  mentions  that  Manasseh  had  just  paid 
him  a  visit,  and  brought  with  him  a  Portuguese  Jew,  whom 
he  desired  to  recommend  for  the  medical  degree.  It 
does  not  seem  unreasonable  to  suppose  that  Manasseh  ben 
Israel  exercised  a  potent  personal  influence  over  Spinoza, 
who  must  have  studied  under  him  for  a  number  of  years. 
Not  that  Manasseh  was  competent  to  make  any  direct 
contribution  towards  the  development  of  Spinoza's  philo 
sophy.  But  his  indirect  influence  must  have  been  consider 
able.  After  all,  the  greatest  service  which  even  the  best 
teacher  can  render  does  not  consist  so  much  in  the  actual 
information  which  he  imparts  as  in  the  stimulus  which  he 
gives,  and  the  love  of  truth  which  he  inculcates.  And 
Manasseh,  we  have  seen,  was  a  man  of  wide  culture,  of 
broad  sympathy,  and  really  devoted  to  scholarship.  What 
is  more  likely  than  that  he  should  use  his  influence  with 
Spinoza's  father  so  that  Baruch  might  be  taught  Latin  and 
other  secular  subjects  ?  And  what  is  more  natural  than 
that  Manasseh,  who  encouraged  and  helped  his  young 
Christian  friend,  a  son  of  Gerhard  Vossius,  to  study  and 
translate  Maimonides,  should  have  been  even  more  eager  to 
urge  his  Jewish  students  to  study  their  own  Hispano-Jewish 
literature,  of  which  they  were  justly  so  proud  ? 

At  the  house  of  his  Rabbi,  Spinoza  would  occasionally 
meet  Christians  who  were  interested  in  Judaism,  or  in 
the  Jewish  interpretation  of  the  Old  Testament.  Here  also 
he  may  have  met  Rembrandt,  who,  between  1640  and  1656, 
lived  in  the  very  heart  of  the  Jewish  quarter  and  was  prob 
ably  on  friendly  terms  with  "  The  Amsterdam  Rabbi,"  as 
Manasseh  was  called.  For  Rembrandt  etched  a  portrait  of 


Manasseh  in  1636,  and  illustrated  one  of  his  books  (ihePiedra 
Gloriosa,  published  in  1655).  Moreover,  in  the  Hermitage 
at  St.  Petersburg,  there  is  a  Rembrandt  painting  of  a  Rabbi, 
aged  and  worn,  and  believed  to  be  Rabbi  Manasseh  ben 
Israel.  If  so,  we  must  suppose  that  Rembrandt,  hearing  of 
the  return  and  illness  of  his  old  friend  of  twenty  years  or 
more,  hastened  to  him  to  Middelburg,  and,  deeply  impressed 
by  the  tragic  change  which  had  come  over  the  once  hand 
some  but  now  prematurely  aged  and  broken-down  Rabbi, 
embodied  his  impression  in  that  portrait.  Perhaps  it  was 
the  art  of  Rembrandt  which  stimulated  young  Spinoza  to 
try  his  hand  at  drawing.  For  we  are  told  that  Spinoza  was 
an  amateur  draughtsman,  and  his  early  biographer,  Colerus, 
actually  possessed  a  number  of  ink  and  charcoal  sketches 
which  Spinoza  had  made  of  his  friends,  also  one  of  Spinoza 
himself  in  the  costume  of  Mas  Anjellos  *  (Thomas  Aniellos), 
who  in  1647  led  the  Neapolitan  revolt  against  Spain,  and 
was  murdered  soon  afterwards.  In  any  case,  it  is  known 
that  Spinoza  had  a  number  of  Christian  acquaintances  and 
friends  at  a  very  early  stage  in  his  career,  and  that  he  helped 
some  of  them  in  the  study  of  the  Hebrew  Bible,  and  it  is 
not  improbable  that  he  was  first  introduced  to  some  of 
them  by  Manasseh  ben  Israel,  the  courteous  and  easily 
accessible  Rabbi,  whom  they  at  first  consulted  when  they 
took  up  the  study  of  Hebrew.  And  it  is  probably  more 
than  a  mere  accident  that  Spinoza  knew  and  corresponded 
with  Isaac,  the  son  of  Gerhard  Vossius,  and  possessed  copies 
of  some  of  the  works  of  both,  as  also  of  Grotius,  and  even 
of  Delmedigo,  all  of  them  friends  of  Manasseh,  whose  own 
book,  The  Hope  of  Israel,  Spinoza  also  possessed. 

Last,  though  by  no  means  least,  there  was  the  moral 
earnestness  of  Manasseh.  He  was  an  earnest  disciple  of 
an  earnest  master.  His  teacher  and  predecessor  in  office, 
Rabbi  Uzziel,  was  known  for  his  moral  courage.  It  was 
^* ."  A  fish«rman~in  his  shirt  with  a  net  over  his  right  shoulder  "  (Colerus). 


his  outspoken  condemnation  of  the  moral  laxity  of  a  portion 
of  Amsterdam  Jewry  that  led  to  a  schism  in  the  young 
community,  and  the  formation  of  a  third  congregation  in 
1618.  For  reasons  already  explained,  some  of  the  members 
of  the  community  had  been  Roman  Catholics  for  several 
generations,  and  had  grown  dangerously  accustomed  to  the 
habit  of  obtaining  priestly  absolution  for  moral  delin 
quencies.  Rabbi  Uzziel  would  have  none  of  it.  Like  the 
prophets  of  old  he  would  make  no  truce  with  immorality, 
and  denounced  it  without  respect  of  person.  Manasseh  ben 
Israel  also  had  the  reputation  of  being  an  earnest  and 
eloquent  preacher,  and  probably  passed  on  some  of  his 
master's  moral  earnestness  to  his  pupil  Spinoza.  No  doubt 
young  Spinoza  could  and  did  draw  from  the  wells  of  the 
living  waters ;  no  doubt  he  could  and  did  draw  moral 
inspiration  from  the  prophetic  books  themselves.  Still,  a 
living  example  of  their  moral  tone  could  not  fail  to  intensify 
his  susceptibility  to  that  spirit  of  the  prophets  which 
Spinoza's  own  writings  still  breathe.* 

The  school  curriculum,  though  fairly  encyclopaedic  in  range 
of  subjects,  was  all  in  Hebrew.  Other  languages  and  the 
more  modern  sciences,  or  the  more  modern  treatmentof  them, 
had  to  be  studied  outside  the  school.  Spanish  and  Portu 
guese  he  learned  from  his  parents  ;  Dutch,  from  his  envi 
ronment.  Morteira,  who  was  a  Venetian  by  birth,  may  have 
taught  him  some  Italian  ;  and  Manasseh  ben  Israel,  some 
French.  Latin,  we  are  informed,  he  learned  from  a  German 
scholar,  possibly  a  certain  Jeremiah  Felbinger,  a  man  of 
rather  unorthodox  reputation,  who  may  also  have  taught 
him  German.  The  study  of  Latin  was  not  popular  among 
the  Jews  at  that  time.  It  was  too  intimately  associated  with 
Roman  Catholicism  and  the  Inquisition.  In  fact  it  was  usual 

*  For  fuller  information  about  Manasseh  ben  Israel,  see  Kayserling's  essay 
i  n  the  Miscellany  of  Hebrew  Literature  (second  series),  and  L.  Wolf's  Manasseh 
ben  Israel's  Mission  to  Oliver  Cromwell. 


among  the  Jews  to  speak  of  Latin  as  "  the  priests'  language." 
Hence  the  knowledge  of  Latin  was  not  a  common  accom 
plishment  of  Jews  then.  A  certain  Mochinger,  writing  to 
Manasseh  ben  Israel  in  1632,  complained  that  in  Bohemia 
and  Germany  he  had  not  come  across  any  Jew  who  had 
learnt  even  the  rudiments  of  Latin  ;  and  he  goe^  on  to  en 
courage  Manasseh  to  persevere  with  his  Latin  and  to  teach  it 
also  to  others.  Even  in  Amsterdam,  where,  as  the  s  ime  writer 
states,  there  were  a  number  of  Jews  who  knew  Latin  well,  it 
was  regarded  with  misgiving  as  the  medium  of  a  worldly 
wisdom,  which,  like  the  "  Greek  wisdom  "  of  old,  was  sus 
pected,  not  without  reason,  of  leading  to  an  estrangement 
from  Judaism.  And  Spinoza's  schoolfellow,  Moses  Zacuto, 
to  whom  reference  has  already  been  made  above,  and  who 
began  as  a  poet  and  ended  as  a  mystic,  actually  fasted  for 
forty  days  by  way  of  penance  for  his  early  devotion  to  Latin. 
If,  therefore,  Spinoza  studied  Latin,  it  may  be  taken  for 
granted  that  he  also  pursued  other  secular  studies,  especially 
mathematics  (which  he  is  reported  to  have  studied  under 
an  Italian),  and  physics,  both  of  which  he  soon  required  for 
optical  work,  and  which  may  actually  have  disposed  him  to 
learn  the  art  of  polishing  lenses ;  probably  also  the  later 
scholastic  philosophy  as  expounded  about  that  time,  in  the 
works  of  Burgersdijck,  Professor  of  Philosophy  at  Leyden 
(died  1632),  and  by  his  successor,  Heereboord  (died  1659). 
In  1652  Francis  van  den  Enden,  an  ex-Jesuit,  ex-diplomat, 
ex-bookseller,  doctor,  and  classicist,  opened  a  school  in 
Amsterdam,  and  Spinoza  went  there  to  complete  his  secular 
studies.  Van  den  Enden  was  certainly  unorthodox,  and 
was  strongly  suspected  of  atheism.  Colerus  relates  that 
some  of  the  past  students  of  Van  den  Enden  "  blessed  every 
day  the  memory  of  their  parents,  who  took  care  in  due  time 
to  remove  them  from  the  school  of  so  pernicious  and  impious 
a  master."  But  he  was  admittedly  an  able  teacher,  and 
Spinoza,  no  doubt,  owed  to  him  his  mastery  of  Latin,  also 


what  little  knowledge  he  had  of  Greek,  the  advancement  of 
his  medical  and  physical  knowledge,  and  most  probably  also 
his  first  introduction  to  the  philosophy  of  Descartes,  whose 
recent  death,  in  1650,  must  have  attracted  renewed  attention 
to  his  writings.  Van  den  Enden,  as  we  shall  see,  was  also 
kind  to  Spinoza  in  other  ways,  and  certainly  deserved  some 
thing  better  than  the  tragic  fate  which  befell  him. 

In  March  1654  Spinoza's  father  died.  Spinoza  had  now 
to  provide  for  his  own  maintenance.  His  "schooling"  was 
finished.  A  new  period  commenced  for  him. 

SYNAGOGUE— 1654-1656 

Spinoza  had  an  inborn  passion  for  clear  and  consistent 
thinking.  And  the  great  intellectual  gifts  with  which 
fortune  had  unstintingly  endowed  him  were  abundantly 
exercised  and  sharpened  in  the  prolonged  study  of  the 
Hebrew  legal  and  religious  codes.  These  abound  in  subtle 
problems  and  subtler  solutions.  And  whatever  Spinoza 
may  have  subsequently  thought  of  their  intrinsic  merits,  yet 
their  value  as  a  mental  discipline  was  undeniable.  But  this 
power  of  penetration  was  slowly  but  inevitably  bringing  him 
into  antagonism  with  the  very  sources  from  which  it  had 
drawn  strength.  Moreover,  even  quite  apart  from  this 
sharpening  of  his  reasoning  powers,  his  Hebrew  studies 
provided  him  also  with  ample  material  and  stimulus  for  the 
exercise  of  his  critical  acumen.  The  spirit  of  rationalism 
pervades  the  whole  literature  of  the  Jews  of  the  Spanish 
period,*  and  the  masterpieces  of  that  literature  were  the  pride 
of  the  Jewish  refugees  from  the  Peninsula,  indeed,  of  all 
Jews.  In  the  commentary  of  Abraham  Ibn  Ezra  (1092-1 167) 
he  found  many  bold  and  suggestive  hints.  In  the  Preface, 
^*  See  tht  writer's  Aristotle  in  Medieval  Jewish  Thought. 


Ibn  Ezra  states  that  he  "  will  show  no  partiality  in  the  exposi 
tion  of  the  Law/'  and  although  the  promise  seems  bolder 
than  the  fulfilment,  yet  now  and  again  one  meets  with  "  a 
word  to  the  wise  "  which  is  just  sufficient  to  direct  attention 
to  some  inconsistency  in  Scripture,  to  the  post-Mosaic 
authorship  of  certain  passages  in  the  so-called  Five  Books 
of  Moses,  or  to  the  different  authorship  of  the  first  and  of 
the  second  parts  of  Isaiah.  These  hints,  obscure  as  they 
may  seem,  justify  Ibn  Ezra's  claim  to  be  called  "the  father 
of  the  Higher  Criticism  of  the  Bible/'  and  they  certainly  led 
to  Spinoza's  subsequent  important  contributions  to  this 
kind  of  Biblical  criticism.  In  the  Guide  of  the  Perplexed 
of  Moses  Maimonides  (1135-1204)  his  attention  was  drawn 
to  certain  crudities  and  inconsistencies  in  Biblical  theology, 
which  Maimonides,  indeed,  tried  to  explain  away,  or  to 
reconcile  with  the  requirements  of  reason,  though  apparently, 
in  the  judgment  of  Spinoza,  with  little  success.  And  Mai 
monides'  treatment  of  the  institution  of  sacrifices  as  merely 
a  temporary  concession  or  device  to  wean  Israel  from  idola 
try  could  not  but  suggest  to  Spinoza  that  other  religious 
customs,  too,  were  only  temporary  in  character  and  validity. 
In  the  writings  of  Gersonides  (1288-1344)  he  saw  rationalism 
encroaching  on  miracles  and  on  prophecy,  so  as  to  explain 
away  their  supposed  supernatural  character.  Maimonides 
had  already  boldly  asserted  that  any  passage  in  the  Bible 
which  appeared  to  conflict  with  reason  must  be  so  re 
interpreted  as  to  be  in  harmony  with  it.  This  method  of 
"interpreting"  Scripture  into  conformity  with  reason  still 
seemed  to  save  the  priority  of  the  Bible  over  human  reason 
— though  only  in  appearance.  Gersonides  went  further 
than  that.  Frankly  admitting  the  possibility  of  a  real 
conflict  between  Reason  and  Revelation,  he  openly  declared 
that  the  Bible  "  cannot  prevent  us  from  holding  that  to  be 
true  which  our  reason  prompts  us  to  believe."  Moreover, 
the  tendency  towards  free  thought  was  very  much  in  the  air 


ever  since  the  Renaissance,  and  it  affected  young  Jews  as  it 
affected  others.  For  example,  in  1628  there  arrived  in 
Amsterdam  a  Jewish  scholar,  Joseph  Delmedigo  by  name, 
who  had  studied  at  the  University  of  Padua.  He  was  well 
versed  in  philosophy,  medicine,  physics,  and  mathematics, 
as  well  as  in  Hebrew  literature,  and  he  had  also  studied 
astronomy  under  Galileo.  He  seems  to  have  stayed  several 
years  in  Amsterdam,  where  Manasseh  ben  Israel  published 
a  selection  of  his  works  for  him.  He  was  a  remarkable 
product  of  that  age  of  conflict  between  the  old  and  the 
new.  Unsettled  by  the  new  spirit  of  the  age,  yet  faithful 
to  the  old,  his  mind  inclined  now  towards  scepticism  and 
again  towards  mysticism,  and  his  nomad  life  was  at  once 
typical  and  expressive  of  a  restless,  vacillating  mind  seeking 
in  vain  to  regain  its  equilibrium.  And,  to  judge  from 
contemporary  complaints,  Amsterdam  Jewry  had  not  a  few 
of  such  religious  malcontents,  and  the  leaders  had  to  cope 
with  the  trouble  as  best  they  could.  Already  in  1623 
Samuel  da  Silva,  a  Jewish  physician  at  Amsterdam,  was 
called  upon  to  write  a  defence  of  the  immortality  of  the 
soul,  and  the  inspiration  of  the  Bible,  against  the  sceptical 
views  aired  by  Uriel  da  Costa.  In  1632  Manasseh  ben 
Israel  published  the  first  part  of  his  Conciliatory  wherein  he 
sought  to  reconcile  the  apparent  inconsistencies  of  Scrip 
ture.  The  Marano  refugees,  like  others  who  threw  off  the 
yoke  of  Roman  Catholicism,  turned  back  to  the  Bible,  and 
the  difficulties  which  some  of  them  encountered  there  may 
have  been  one  of  the  causes  which  prompted  Manasseh's 
enterprise.  Spinoza,  no  doubt,  knew  this  book.  But  he 
probably  appreciated  the  problems  which  it  attacked  much 
more  than  the  solutions  which  it  offered.  And  if  the  Bible 
already  presented  difficulties,  how  extravagant  and  un 
warranted  must  have  appeared  that  elaborate  superstructure 
which  the  Rabbis  had  reared  upon  it  "  line  upon  line  and 
precept  upon  precept "  !  At  all  events,  Spinoza's  difficul- 


ties,  in  so  far  as  they  turned  on  the  narrower  problems  of 
the  Hebrew  Scriptures  and  Jewish  ceremonial,  were  by  no 
means  new.  They  had  been  clearly  realised,  and  partly 
dealt  with,  by  others  long  before  him. 

As  regards  the  wider  philosophical  questions,  it  is  difficult 
to  say  what  Spinoza's  philosophy  was  like  at  that  epoch 
of  his  life.  One  can  scarcely  suppose  that  his  thought 
was  already  systematised  into  a  definite  philosophic  theory. 
Most  likely  his  views  were  as  yet  but  loosely  connected,  and, 
in  the  main,  negative  rather  than  positive  in  tendency.  And 
these  views  also  were,  in  very  large  measure,  if  not  exclu 
sively,  suggested  to  him  by  Jewish  writers.  These  more 
philosophical  problems,  too,  were  not  altogether  new,  they 
had  been  realised,  and  grappled  with,  by  other  Jews  before 
him.  The  popular  conception  of  Creation  (creatio  ex  nihilo) 
had  been  denied  by  both  Ibn  Ezra  and  Gersonides,  who 
maintained  the  eternity  of  matter.  Crescas  (1340-1410)  had 
maintained  that  God  had  extension,  and  the  Jewish  Mystics 
taught  that  Nature  was  animated.  Maimonides  had  denied 
that  man  was  the  centre  of  creation,  maintaining  that  each 
thing  exists  for  its  own  sake,  and  Crescas  denied  the  validity 
of  final  causes.  Maimonides  also  had  suggested  the  rela 
tivity  of  good  and  evil,  and  Ibn  Ezra  and  Crescas  had 
maintained  a  thoroughgoing  determinism. 

Spinoza,  however,  felt  the  accumulated  burden  of  all 
these  problems,  and  he  may  already  have  been  sufficiently 
influenced  by  Cartesian  thought  to  refuse  to  accept  any 
unproved  assertions.  Moreover,  Spinoza  lacked  the  power 
(one  is  almost  inclined  to  call  it  a  gift)  which  his  Jewish 
predecessors  possessed,  namely,  the  power  of  detaching 
their  theories  from  their  practical  everyday  life.  However 
advanced  or  heterodox  their  views  may  have  been,  yet  they 
were  conservative  in  feeling,  and  conservative  in  practice, 
and  observed  religious  customs  just  like  the  most  orthodox. 
Such  an  attitude  may  easily  be  accused  of  duplicity  ;  but 


we  do  not  really  explain  it  by  calling  it  bad  names.  It  is 
often  perfectly  honest,  and  it  is  to  be  met  with  in  all  creeds, 
at  the  present  no  less  than  in  the  past.  And,  after  all,  the 
difference  is  mostly  one  of  degree  rather  than  of  kind. 
Even  Spinoza's  feeling  remained  to  the  end  more  conserva 
tive  than  his  thought.  That  was  why  he  could  not  help 
using  the  language  of  religion  long  after  his  thought  seemed 
to  have  emptied  it  of  its  religious  meaning.  At  all  events  he 
made  no  secret  of  his  views,  and  he  grew  lax  in  the  matter 
of  ceremonial  observances,  whose  theoretic  basis  no  longer 
appealed  to  him.  The  elaborate  dietary  laws  of  orthodox 
Judaism  must  havebeen  something  of  an  obstacle  in  his  inter 
course  with  Christian  friends,  and  although  he,  no  doubt, 
observed  these  laws  for  a  time  from  sheer  force  of  habit,  even 
when  their raison  d'etrehad  already  lost  its  hold  on  him,  still 
he  probably  got  weary  of  excusing  his  apparent  unsociability 
on  the  ground  of  a  custom  in  which  he  no  longer  believed. 
Moreover,  the  comparatively  liberal  religion  of  his  Mennonite 
and  Collegiant  *  friends,  their  Quaker-like  simplicity,  their 
brotherly  equality,  their  humanitarian  repudiation  of  strife 
and  war,  the  plain  decorum  of  their  prayer-meetings — all 
this  must  have  tended  to  make  him  increasingly  dissatisfied 
with  the  over-elaborated  ceremonial  of  his  own  community, 
and  the  comparative  indecorum  of  their  Synagogue  services. 
On  the  other  hand,  his  Jewish  neighbours  were  beginning 
to  feel  scandalised  by  this  breach  of  ritual  observances,  his 
frequent  absence  from  the  Synagogue,  and  the  reports  of 
his  attendance  at  Christian  prayer-meetings,  especially  so, 
considering  that  his  father  and  grandfather  had  held  office 
in  the  Synagogue,  and  Baruch  himself  had  been  looked  upon 
as  a  promising  "  light  of  the  Exile."  Mutual  distrust  de 
veloped  into  mutual  antipathy.  The  conservatives  could  not 
understand  how  any  one  could,  merely  on  account  of  per 
sonal  inconvenience,  deliberately  ignore  divinely  ordained 

['.  *  See  p.  xli  on  the  character  of  these  sects. 


precepts — except  from  sheer  perverseness.  They  failed  to 
realise  that  any  one  who  did  not  accept  the  divine  origin  of 
such  customs,  and  did  not  see  any  very  obvious  moral  pur 
pose  in  them,  would  simply  not  think  it  worth  while  sacri 
ficing  time  or  anything  else  on  their  account.  And  Spinoza 
himself  was  almost  equally  unsympathetic  when  he  failed  to 
realise  that  customs  which  seemed  a  burden  to  him  were 
nevertheless  felt  to  be  a  blessing  and  a  privilege  by  those 
who  sincerely  regarded  them  as  divine  ordinances,  as  oppor 
tunities  of  serving  God  ;  while  the  apparent  indecorum  of 
the  Synagogue  was  largely  the  outcome  of  Israel's  feeling 
of  familiarity  with  God.  Such  mutual  misunderstandings 
neither  began  nor  ended  in  the  days  of  Spinoza.  At 
all  events  trouble  was  brewing.  After  his  father's  death 
Spinoza  probably  became  less  cautious  than  before.  He 
did  not  entirely  sever  his  connection  with  the  Synagogue, 
for  the  Synagogue  accounts  show  that  he  was  present  in 
the  Synagogue  on  the  Sabbath,  the  5th  of  December  1655, 
and  made  an  offering.  It  was  the  Sabbath  of  the  Feast 
of  Lights,  in  memory  of  the  Maccabean  uprising  against 
Antiochus  Epiphanes,  and  Spinoza  had  a  warm  admiration 
for  all  enemies  of  tyranny — did  he  not  actually  picture  him 
self  in  the  guise  of  Aniellos,  the  Neapolitan  rebel  against 
the  tyranny  of  Spain  ?  That  Spinoza  should  have  kept  up 
his  connection  with  the  Synagogue  stands  to  reason.  He 
could  hardly  resist  the  call  of  filial  piety  to  recite  the 
mourner's  prayer  for  his  father,  even  as,  in  the  days  of  his 
childhood,  he  had  done  for  his  mother.  The  prayer  was 
innocent  enough.  Though  a  "  mourner's  prayer,"  it  was  not 
a  prayer  for  the  dead,  in  fact  it  contained  no  reference  what 
ever  to  the  dead.  It  was  a  prayer  for  peace,  and  its  ground- 
note  was  that  of  praise  of  God,  which,  coming  at  the  moment 
of  profoundest  sorrow,  was  regarded  as  the  finest  expres 
sion  of  resignation  and  faith.  Spinoza  could  scarcely  have 
taken  any  serious  objection  to  it,  at  that  time,  and  on  such 


an  occasion,  and  he  would  thus  remain  attached  to  the 
Synagogue  during  his  year  of  mourning.  In  the  months  of 
September,  October,  and  November  fell  the  anniversaries 
of  the  deaths  of  his  sister  Miriam,  his  stepmother,  and  his 
mother  respectively.  He  would  be  expected  to  attend 
Synagogue  on  these  occasions,  and  hardly  be  disinclined. 
We  need  not,  therefore,  be  surprised  to  find  him  again  in 
the  Synagogue  on  the  5th  of  December.  In  all  probability 
that  was  not  the  last  occasion  either  on  which  he  was  seen 
in  Synagogue — the  anniversary  of  his  father's  death,  in 
March  1656,  most  likely  saw  him  there  again.  What 
exactly  happened  in  the  interval  between  March  and  July 
1656  is  not  certain,  though  it  may  not  be  difficult  to  con 
jecture.  Possibly  some  of  his  young  Jewish  friends  spoke 
to  him  on  the  subject  of  death — a  subject  natural  enough 
under  the  circumstances — and  may  have  been  surprised  and 
shocked  to  hear  from  him  that  in  his  view  the  Bible  did  not 
teach  the  doctrine  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  and  that, 
in  the  Bible,  ''soul"  was  simply  synonymous  with  "  life." 
This  might  have  led  up  to  the  more  general  question  of  the 
existence  of  disembodied  spirits  or  angels,  which  Spinoza 
then  described  as  unreal,  and  mere  phantoms  of  the  imagi 
nation.  But  what  about  God  ?  would  be  the  natural 
rejoinder.  God,  said  Spinoza,  was  also  not  incorporeal,  but 
extended.  At  all  events,  it  was  these  heretical  views  which 
were  soon  afterwards  made  the  ground  of  his  excommuni 
cation  ;  but  they  were  not  really  the  whole  ground — there 
were  other  reasons. 

Reference  has  already  been  made  to  the  fact  that,  on  the 
death  of  their  father,  Rebekah  endeavoured  to  keep  her 
half-brother  from  his  share  in  the  inheritance.  Her  idea 
no  doubt  was  that  Spinoza  might  earn  his  livelihood, 
whereas  she  had  nothing  wherewith  to  support  herself,  and 
ought  therefore  to  be  provided  for.  Possibly  her  brother- 
in-law,  de  Casseres,  a  prospective  Rabbi,  learned  in  the 


Law,  and  uncommonly  shocked  by  Spinoza's  religious 
lapses,  of  which  Rebekah  probably  knew  much  and  told 
him  more,  advised  her  that  according  to  strict  Jewish  law 
Spinoza's  delinquencies  disqualified  him  from  inheriting 
his  father's  property.  Spinoza  naturally  resented  such 
high-handed  methods,  and  appealed  to  the  law  of  the  land, 
which  of  course  took  no  notice  of  the  subtleties  of  Rabbinic 
legislation.  Spinoza  won  his  lawsuit,  but,  realising  the 
moral  claims  of  his  sister's  position,  he  refrained  from 
taking  anything  beyond  a  bedstead,  and  that  very  likely  as 
a  memento  quite  as  much  as  an  article  of  value,  or  of  which 
he  had  need.  This  appeal  to  the  secular  arm  against  his  sister 
hardly  tended  to  make  him  more  popular  with  his  people, 
however  little  some  of  them  may  have  sympathised  with 
her  peculiar  methods.  Moreover,  the  report  of  his  heresies, 
on  which  Rebekah  had  based  her  exclusive  claims,  got  abroad 
and  was  duly  magnified  as  it  passed  from  mouth  to  mouth. 
Meanwhile  Spinoza  had  to  earn  his  bread.  He  could 
hardly  think  of  staying  with  his  sister,  or  with  any  other 
relative,  after  this  family  quarrel,  and  he  had  nothing  very 
definite  to  fall  back  upon  for  his  support.  Fortunately  Van 
den  Enden,  realising  his  pupil's  plight,  came  to  his  rescue. 
Spinoza  assisted  him  in  his  school,  and,  in  return,  Van  den 
Enden  provided  him  with  a  home  and  all  necessaries  at 
his  own  house.  This,  of  course,  entailed  a  complete  breach 
with  the  Jewish  dietary  laws.  But  this  was  not  all.  Van 
den  Enden,  as  already  remarked,  had  an  evil  reputation, 
and  his  school  was  strongly  suspected  of  being  a  centre  for 
the  teaching  of  atheism.  Whether  Van  den  Enden  really 
merited  his  ill  repute  is  by  no  means  certain.  That  he  was 
not  particularly  orthodox  in  his  views  may  be  granted  ;  he 
knew  too  much  to  satisfy  the  requirements  of  the  zealots. 
On  the  other  hand,  it  must  be  remembered  that  when 
Dirck  Kerckrinck  wooed  Clara  Maria  Van  den  Enden,  he 
had  to  turn  Roman  Catholic  before  her  father  consented  to 


the  marriage  (1671).  Be  that  as  it  may,  the  school  had  a 
bad  name,  and  Spinoza's  reputation  did  not  improve  by  his 
more  intimate  connection  with  it.  Possibly  some  of  the 
fathers,  who  subsequently  earned  the  daily  blessings  of  their 
sons  for  taking  care  in  due  time  "  to  remove  them  from  the 
school  of  so  pernicious  and  impious  a  master"  as  Van  den 
Enden  was  reputed  to  be,  were  not  slow  in  fastening  some 
of  the  blame  on  his  Jewish  assistant ;  and  Spinoza,  who  was 
as  yet  too  inexperienced  to  appreciate  the  wisdom  of  dis 
cretion,  may  have  given  utterance  to  many  a  heterodox 
thought.  If  so,  the  scandalised  fathers  who  repeatedly  tried 
to  persuade  the  city  magistrates  to  close  Van  den  Enden's 
school,  and  who  actually  did  succeed  in  driving  him  out  of 
Amsterdam  eventually,  would  not  keep  very  quiet  about 
Spinoza,  and  the  Jewish  authorities  would  have  good  reason 
to  take  alarm. 

Except  by  the  select  few,  religious  toleration  was  scarcely 
understood  in  those  days,  even  in  the  Netherlands.  That 
the  persecuted  turn  persecutors  has  become  a  truism  ;  it  is 
sad,  but  it  is  true.  In  practice,  the  cry  for  religious  tolera 
tion  has  all  too  often  amounted  to  this  :  you  have  persecuted 
me  long  enough  now,  let  me  persecute  you  for  a  change. 
At  the  very  commencement  of  their  long  struggle  against 
the  tyranny  of  the  Inquisition,  the  mutual  intolerance  of  the 
various  religious  sects  in  the  Netherlands  caused  infinite 
trouble  to  William  the  Silent,  and  very  nearly  wrecked  their 
enterprise.  As  their  fortunes  improved  and  the  need  of 
union  became  somewhat  less  urgent,  intolerance  became 
increasingly  manifest.  The  Calvinists,  who  were  in  the 
majority,  regarded  their  Church  more  or  less  as  the  estab 
lished  Church,  to  which  the  Reformed  clergy  tried  their 
utmost  to  compel  all  others  to  conform.  When  Philip  III. 
made  a  twelve  years'  truce  with  the  United  Netherlands  in 
1609,  he  did  so,  it  is  said,  in  the  sinister  hope  that  mutual 
religious  persecutions  among  the  different  religious  sects 


would  bring  about  that  fall  of  the  Netherlands  which 
the  Spanish  troops  had  failed  to  effect.  Sooth  to  say, 
there  was  considerable  justification  for  that  sinister  hope. 
In  1610  the  followers  of  Arminius  (Professor  of  Theology 
at  Leyden,  died  1609)  presented  to  the  provincial  parliament 
of  Holland  and  West  Friesland  their  Remonstrance  *  against 
extreme  Calvinism,  and  the  struggle  between  the  Arminians 
(or  Remonstrants)  and  the  extreme  Calvinists  (or  Contra- 
Remonstrants)  culminated  in  1619,  when  the  Synod  of 
Dordrecht  excommunicated  the  Arminians,  closed  their 
places  of  worship,  and  brought  about  the  expulsion  of  Re 
monstrant  preachers  from  most  of  the  States.  Barneveldt, 
the  political  head  of  the  Remonstrants  and  reputed  to  have 
been  the  greatest  statesman  of  the  Netherlands,  was  exe 
cuted  ;  Hugo  Grotius,  one  of  their  most  eminent  scholars, 
was  thrown  into  prison,  and  only  escaped  from  it  through 
the  bold  ingenuity  of  his  wife.  One  interesting  result  of  the 
banishment  of  Arminian  pastors  was  the  formation  of  the 
Collegiant  sect,  which  simply  decided  to  dispense  with 
the  clerical  office  altogether,  and  held  more  or  less  informal 
gatherings  (collegia)  for  prayers  and  religious  discussions 
conducted  entirely  by  laymen.  (The  Mennonites,  with 
whom  also  Spinoza  stood  in  friendly  relations,  had  come 
into  existence  under  very  similar  circumstances  during  the 
sixteenth  century).  The  events  of  1619  show  clearly  enough 
the  temper  of  the  dominant  religious  sect  in  the  United 
Provinces.  Fortunately,  enlightened  statesmen  and  magis 
trates  generally  managed  to  resist  the  persecuting  zeal  of 
the  Reformed  or  Calvinist  clergy.  But  not  always  ;  nor  did 
the  zealots  relax  their  efforts  in  spite  of  repeated  dis 
couragement.  In  1653  the  clerical  Synods  forced  the 
States-General  to  issue  a  strict  edict  against  the  Socinians 

*  The  "five  points"  of  the  Remonstrance  were  (i)  conditional  election  ; 
(ii)  universal  redemption  through  Christ ;  (iii)  salvation  by  grace  ;  (iv)  the 
irresistibleness  of  grace ;  and  (v)  the  possibility  of  falling  from  a  state  oi 



or  Unitarians,  many  of  whom  consequently  went  over  to 
the  Collegiants. 

After  all,  then,  the  decree  of  toleration  embodied  in  the 
Union  of  Utrecht  did  not  secure  very  much  in  the  way  of 
real  toleration.  Non-Calvinist  Christians  were  allowed  to 
live  in  the  Netherlands  without  suffering  in  person  or  pro 
perty  on  account  of  their  nonconformity.  For  those  days 
even  that  was  a  great  deal  ;  but  the  right  of  public  worship 
was  quite  another  matter.  And  if  the  Union  of  Utrecht  did 
not  secure  real  toleration  for  all  Christian  sects,  much  less 
did  it  guarantee  anything  to  the  Jews,  who  had  not  been 
contemplated  in  it  at  all,  who  had  not  even  been  formally 
admitted  into  the  Netherlands,  but  whose  presence  had 
been  more  or  less  connived  at.  Even  in  1619,  when  the 
Jewish  question  was  definitely  raised  in  the  Netherlands,  it 
was  decided  to  allow  each  city  to  please  itself  whether  it 
would  permit  Jews  to  live  there  or  not.  Their  position 
was  precarious  indeed.  They  had  to  take  care  not  to  give 
offence  to  the  religious  susceptibilities  of  their  neighbours. 
And  their  troubles  commenced  soon  enough. 

About  the  year  1618  there  had  arrived  in  Amsterdam  a 
Marano  refugee  from  Portugal  whose  name  was  Gabriel  da 
Costa.  Both  he  and  his  late  father  had  held  office  in  the 
Catholic  Church,  but  seized  by  a  sudden  longing  to  return 
to  the  religion  of  his  ancestors,  Gabriel  fled  to  Amsterdam, 
where  he  embraced  Judaism  and  changed  his  name  from 
Gabriel  to  Uriel.  His  ideas  about  Judaism  had  been  derived 
chiefly  from  reading  the  Old  Testament,  and  his  contact 
with  actual  Rabbinic  Judaism  somewhat  disappointed  him. 
He  thereupon  commenced  to  speak  contemptuously  of  the 
Jews  as  Pharisees,  and  aired  his  views  very  freely  against 
the  belief  in  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  and  the  inspiration 
of  the  Bible.  These  views  were,  of  course,  as  much  opposed 
to  Christianity  as  to  Judaism.  The  Jewish  physician,  de 
Silva,  as  already  stated,  tried  to  controvert  these  heretical 


views  in  a  book  published  in  1623.  Da  Costa  replied,  in 
1624,  with  a  treatise  which  was  very  confused,  and  which, 
while  accusing  de  Silva  of  slander  against  the  author, 
actually  reiterated  those  heresies.  Partly  from  fear  that  an 
outcry  might  be  raised  against  the  Jews  as  promulgators  of 
heresy,  the  Jewish  authorities  excommunicated  Uriel  da 
Costa,  and  as  a  kind  of  official  repudiation  of  all  responsi 
bility  for  him,  they  communicated  the  facts  to  the  civil 
authorities,  who  thereupon  imprisoned  him,  fined  him,  and 
ordered  his  book  to  be  burned.  Shunned  by  Jews  and 
Christians  alike,  da  Costa  found  his  existence  very  lonely 
and  intolerable,  and  in  1633  he  made  up  his  mind,  as  he 
said,  "  to  become  an  ape  among  apes/'  and  made  his  peace 
with  the  Synagogue.  But  he  soon  got  quite  reckless  again, 
and  was  excommunicated  a  second  time.  Again  he  grew 
weary  of  his  isolation,  and  once  more  he  approached  the 
Synagogue  authorities  for  the  removal  of  the  ban.  Deter 
mined  not  to  be  duped  again,  yet  reluctant  to  repel  him 
absolutely,  they  imposed  hard  conditions  on  him.  He  sub 
mitted  to  the  conditions — he  recanted  his  sins  publicly  in 
the  Synagogue,  received  thirty-nine  lashes,  and  lay  pros 
trate  on  the  threshold  of  the  Synagogue  while  the  congrega 
tion  stepped  over  him  as  they  passed  out.  It  was  a  cruel 
degradation.  And  so  heavily  did  his  humiliation  weigh  on 
his  mind  that  he  committed  suicide  soon  afterwards.  This 
happened  in  1640,  and  Spinoza  must  have  remembered  the 

If  the  Jewish  community  in  Amsterdam  felt  it  necessary 
to  repudiate,  in  such  drastic  manner,  their  responsibility  for 
Uriel  da  Costa' s  heresies,  so  as  to  avoid  giving  offence  to 
their  Christian  neighbours,  there  was  every  reason  why  they 
should  feel  even  greater  discomfort  on  account  of  Spinoza's 
heresies  in  1656.  It  was  a  critical  period  in  the  annals  of 
Jewish  history.  During  the  Muscovite  and  Cossack  inva 
sion  of  Poland  (1654-1656)  entire  Jewish  communities 'were 


massacred  by  the  invaders  ;  nor  did  the  Poles  behave  much 
better  towards  the  Jews  during  the  war.     Naturally,  whoso 
ever  could   tried  to   escape  from   the  scene  of   slaughter. 
There  was  consequently  a  considerable  influx  of  Polish  Jews 
into  Amsterdam.    Now,  even  in  the  twentieth  century,  when 
countless  missionaries  are  sent  to  spread  the  Gospel  from 
China  to  Peru,  Jewish  refugees  have  been  shown  but  scant 
Christian  charity  under  similar  circumstances,  so  we  have 
every  reason  to  suppose  that  the  condition  of  the  Amsterdam 
Jewish  community  did  not  gain  in  security  through  this  influx 
of  destitute  refugees.    Then  more  than  ever  was  it  necessary 
to  be  circumspect,  and  avoid  giving  offence  to  the  people  of 
the  land,  especially  in  the  matter  of  the  most  delicate  of  all 
things — religion.*    They  did  not  want  another  scandal.    One 
da  Costa  affair  was  enough,  and  more  than  enough.     Yet 
they  must  not  incur  the  responsibility  for  Spinoza's  heresies. 
So  at  first  they  tried  to  bribe  Spinoza.     They  promised  him 
a  considerable  annuity  if  he  would  only  keep  quiet,  and 
show  some  amount  of  outward  conformity  to  his  religion. 
They  must  have  known  well  enough  that  silence  and  partial 
outward  conformity  do  not  alter  a  man's  views  ;  they  were 
surely  shrewd  enough  to  realise  that  a  heretic  does  not  cease 
to  be  a  heretic  by  becoming  also  a  hypocrite.     If  their  sole 
object  had  been  to  suppress  heresy  in  their  midst,  that  was 
not  the  way  to  gain  their  end.     Heresy  would  not  languish 
through  becoming  profitable.  The  real  motive  that  prompted 
them  must  have  been  that  just  indicated — though  it  is  very 
likely  that  they  did  not  realise  it  so  explicitly.     If  they  had 
done  so,  and  if  they  had  urged  these  points  on  Spinoza,  he 
would,  undoubtedly,  have  appreciated  the  need  for  caution 
and  silence.     But  they  evidently  did  not  understand  him, 
they  evidently  misconceived  his  character  entirely,  and  the 

*  That  their  apprehensions  were  not  unfounded  is  clear  from  the  fact 
that  even  some  twenty  years  afterwards  various  Synods  of  the  Reformed 
Church  tried  to  induce  the  civil  powers  to  pass  strong  measures  for  the 
forcible  ebnversion  of  the  Jews. 


attempt  to  gag  him  with  a  bribe  was  just  the  way  best  cal 
culated  to  defeat  their  end.  The  only  person  who  might 
have  understood  him,  and  whose  intervention  might  have 
been  successful,  was  Manasseh  ben  Israel.  But  he  was  in 
England  then,  on  a  mission  to  Cromwell.  So  threats  were 
tried  next ;  but  the  threat  of  excommunication  had  no  effect 
on  Spinoza.  They  had  reached  the  end  of  their  tether.  The 
only  course  open  to  them,  as  they  felt,  was  to  put  him  under 
the  ban.  The  feeling  against  him  was,  no  doubt,  so  strong 
that  a  fanatic  might  have  tried  to  do  him  some  physical 
violence.  And  it  may  be  that  such  an  attack  gave  rise  to  the 
story  of  an  attempt  to  assassinate  Spinoza  with  a  dagger,  as 
he  was  leaving  the  Synagogue  or  the  theatre.  But  there  is  no 
evidence  of  this,  and  the  probability  is  decidedly  against  it. 

Some  time  in  June  1656  Spinoza  was  summoned  before 
the  court  of  Rabbis.  Witnesses  gave  evidence  of  his  here 
sies.  Spinoza  did  not  deny  them — he  tried  to  defend  them. 
Thereupon  he  was  excommunicated  for  a  period  of  thirty 
days  only — in  the  hope  that  he  might  still  relent.  But  he 
did  not.  Accordingly,  on  the  2jth  July  1656,  the  final  ban  was 
pronounced  upon  him  publicly  in  the  Synagogue  at  Amster 
dam.  It  was  couched  in  the  following  terms  : 

"  The  members  of  the  council  do  you  to  wit  that  they  have  long 
known  of  the  evil  opinions  and  doings  of  Baruch  de  Espinoza,  and 
have  tried  by  divers  methods  and  promises  to  make  him  turn  from 
his  evil  ways.  As  they  have  not  succeeded  in  effecting  his  improve 
ment,  but,  on  the  contrary,  have  received  every  day  more  informa 
tion  about  the  horrible  heresies  which  he  practised  and  taught,  and 
other  enormities  which  he  has  committed,  and  as  they  had  many 
trustworthy  witnesses  of  this,  who  have  deposed  and  testified  in  the 
presence  of  the  said  Spinoza,  and  have  convicted  him ;  and  as  all 
this  has  been  investigated  in  the  presence  of  the  Rabbis,  it  has  been 
resolved  with  their  consent  that  the  said  Espinoza  should  be  anathe 
matised  and  cut  off  from  the  people  of  Israel,  and  now  he  is 
anathematised  with  the  following  anathema  : 

"  '  With  the  judgment  of  the  angels  and  with  that  of  the  saints,  with 


the  consent  of  God,  Blessed  be  He,  and  of  all  this  holy  congrega 
tion,  before  these  sacred  Scrolls  of  the  Law,  and  the  six  hundred 
and  thirteen  precepts  which  are  prescribed  therein,  we  anathematise, 
cut  off,  execrate,  and  curse  Baruch  de  Espinoza  with  the  anathema 
wherewith  Joshua  anathematised  Jericho,  with  the  curse  wherewith 
Elishah  cursed  the  youths,  and  with  all  the  curses  which  are  written 
in  the  Law:  cursed  be  he  by  day,  and  cursed  be  he  by  night ;  cursed 
be  he  when  he  lieth  down,  and  cursed  be  he  when  he  riseth  up ; 
cursed  be  he  when  he  goeth  out,  and  cursed  be  he  when  he  cometh 
in ;  the  Lord  will  not  pardon  him ;  the  wrath  and  fury  of  the  Lord 
will  be  kindled  against  this  man,  and  bring  down  upon  him  all  the 
curses  which  are  written  in  the  Book  of  the  Law;  and  the  Lord 
will  destroy  his  name  from  under  the  heavens;  and,  to  his  undoing, 
the  Lord  will  cut  him  off  from  all  the  tribes  of  Israel,  with  all  the 
curses  of  the  firmament  which  are  written  in  the  Book  of  the  Law ; 
but  ye  that  cleave  unto  the  Lord  your  God  live  all  of  you  this 

"  We  ordain  that  no  one  may  communicate  with  him  verbally  or  in 
writing,  nor  show  him  any  favour,  nor  stay  under  the  same  roof 
with  him,  nor  be  within  four  cubits  of  him,  nor  read  anything  com 
posed  or  written  by  him." 

This  amiable  document  of  the  "  holy  congregation "  is 
nothing  less  than  a  blasphemy.  It  must  be  remembered, 
however,  that  the  actual  anathema  was  a  traditional  formula, 
and  (unlike  the  preamble  and  conclusion)  was  not  specially 
written  for  the  occasion.  No  doubt  it  shows  a  greater 
familiarity  with  the  phraseology  of  the  Bible  than  with  its 
best  teaching.  But  the  Jews  who  excommunicated  Spinoza 
were  no  worse  than  their  neighbours  in  this  respect.  These 
awful  curses  were  but  the  common  farewells  with  which  the 
churches  took  leave  of  their  insubordinate  friends.  Nor 
were  these  the  worst  forms  of  leave-taking,  by  any  means. 
After  all,  swearing  breaks  no  bones,  and  burns  none  alive, 
as  did  the  rack  and  the  stake  which  were  so  common 
in  those  days.  The  Catholic  Church  excommunicated 
only  when  it  could  not  torture  and  kill ;  and  then  its  ana 
themas,  though  they  may  have  been  more  polished  in  diction, 


were  incomparably  more  brutal  in  effect.  The  ban  pronounced 
upon  William  the  Silent,  for  instance,  contained  nothing  less 
than  an  urgent  invitation  to  cut-throats  that  they  should 
murder  him,  in  return  for  which  pious  deed  they  would 
receive  absolution  for  all  their  crimes,  no  matter  how  heinous, 
and  would  be  raised  to  noble  rank  ;  and  that  ban  actually 
accomplished  its  sinister  object!  It  is,  therefore,  unjust  to 
single  out  this  ban  against  Spinoza  and  judge  it  by  present- 
day  standards.  Nor  should  it  be  forgotten  that  if  Judaism 
alone  had  been  concerned,  more  leniency  would  have  been 
shown,  the  whole  thing  might  have  been  ignored.  Elisha 
ben  Abuyah,  the  Faust  of  the  Talmud,  was  not  persecuted 
by  the  Jews,  in  spite  of  his  heresies.  The  ban  against  Spinoza 
was  the  due  paid  to  Caesar,  rather  than  to  the  God  of  Israel. 

As  in  the  case  of  da  Costa,  and  for  the  same  reasons,  the 
Jewish  authorities  officially  communicated  the  news  of 
Spinoza's  excommunication  to  the  civil  authorities,  who,  in 
order  to  appease  the  wrath  of  the  Jewish  Rabbinate  and  the 
Calvinist  clergy,  banished  Spinoza  from  Amsterdam,  though 
only  for  a  short  period. 

On  the  whole  there  is  some  reason  to  suppose  that  the 
anathema  was  not  a  curse,  but  a  blessing  in  disguise.  It 
freed  him  entirely  from  sectarian  and  tribal  considera 
tions  ;  it  helped  to  make  him  a  thinker  of  no  particular 
sect  and  of  no  particular  age,  but  for  all  men  and  for  all 

However  reprehensible  his  heretical  utterances  arid  un 
orthodox  doings  may  have  been  considered  by  some  of  his 
fellow-Jews,  yet  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  Spinoza  did  not 
really  desire  to  sever  his  connection  entirely  with  them. 
This  is  evident  from  the  fact  that  he  did  not  ignore,  as  he 
might  have  done,  the  summons  to  come  before  the  court 
of  Rabbis  in  order  to  defend  himself  against  the  charge  of 
heresy.  It  is  true  that  when  informed  of  his  final  excom 
munication  he  is  reported  to  have  said  :  "  Very  well,  this 


does  not  force  me  to  do  anything  which  I  would  not  have 
done  of  my  own  accord,  had  I  not  been  afraid  of  a 
scandal."  But  the  last  words  of  this  expression  of  his 
natural  resentment  only  seem  to  confirm  the  suggestion 
about  his  previous  anxiety  to  avoid  a  complete  rupture,  if 
he  could  do  so  honestly.  It  was  partly  perhaps  also  for  this 
reason  that  even  after  his  excommunication  he  addressed 
to  the  Synagogue  authorities  an  Apology  (written  in  Spanish) 
in  which  he  probably  sought  to  defend  his  heretical  views 
by  showing  that  they  had  the  support  of  some  of  the  most 
eminent  Rabbis,  and  to  condemn  the  iniquity  of  fastening 
on  him  "  horrible  practices  and  other  enormities"  because 
of  his  neglect  of  mere  ceremonial  observances.  Unfortu 
nately,  this  document  has  not  yet  been  recovered,  though 
some  of  its  contents  are  said  to  have  been  subsequently  in 
corporated  in  his  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus.  It  would 
throw  a  flood  of  light  on  Spinoza's  mental  history.  How 
ever,  the  Apology  did  not  mend  matters.  Cut  off  from  his 
community,  without  kith  or  kin,  he  stood  alone,  but  firm 
and  unshaken.  Unlike  da  Costa,  he  never  winced.  He 
seems  to  have  got  into  touch  with  Jews  again  afterwards  ; 
but  it  was  they  who  had  to  seek  him. 

AND  NEAR  AMSTERDAM— 1656-1660 

Banished  from  Amsterdam,  Spinoza  went  to  live  in  Ou- 
werkerk,  a  little  village  to  the  south  of  Amsterdam.  Possibly 
he  had  some  Christian  friends  there  who  had  influence  with 
the  civil  authorities  ;  and  apparently  he  meant  to  return  to 
Amsterdam  at  the  earliest  opportunity.  Maybe  also  he  was 
not  altogether  uninfluenced  by  the  thought  that  the  Jewish 
cemetery  was  there,  and  that  his  mother,  his  sister,  his  father, 


and  others  once  dear  to  him,  had  found  their  last  resting- 
place  in  it. 

For  his  support  he  had  to  rely  on  the  lenses  which  he 
made — an  art  which  he  had  mastered  during  the  years 
immediately  preceding  his  exile.  He  made  lenses  for  spec 
tacles,  microscopes,  and  telescopes,  and  his  friends  sold 
them  for  him.  The  work  suited  his  tastes  well  enough,  be 
cause  it  kept  him  in  touch  with  his  scientific  studies.  And 
he  evidently  excelled  in  it,  for  later  on  his  fame  as  an 
optician  attracted  the  notice  of  Huygens  and  Leibniz, 
among  others.  But  it  was  an  unfortunate  occupation 
otherwise.  The  fine  glass-dust  which  he  inhaled  during  his 
work  must  have  been  very  injurious  to  his  health,  especially 
when  we  bear  in  mind  that  he  eventually  died  of  consump 
tion,  and  that  he  probably  inherited  the  disease  from  his 
mother,  who  died  so  young.  For  the  time  being,  however, 
it  was  a  congenial  occupation,  and,  with  his  frugal  habits, 
left  him  sufficient  time  to  pursue  his  scientific  and  philo 
sophic  studies. 

As  already  suggested,  Spinoza  did  not  stay  long  in  Ouwer- 
kerk,  but  returned,  after  a  few  months,  to  Amsterdam,  where 
he  remained  till  1660.  Of  the  events  which  happened 
during  this  period  (1656-1660)  we  possess  the  most  meagre 
information.  Apparently  he  gave  some  private  lessons  in 
philosophy,  and  pursued  his  studies  unremittingly.  At  the 
end  of  this  period  he  had  already  left  Descartes  behind  him, 
and  had  thought  out  the  essentials  of  his  own  philosophy. 

From  Spinoza's  subsequent  correspondence,  we  obtain  a 
glimpse  of  his  friends  and  associates  during  this  period, 
while  the  opening  pages  of  his  Improvement  of  the  Under 
standing  at  once  enlighten  and  mystify  us  about  his  life 
during  those  last  years  in  Amsterdam. 

After  leaving  Amsterdam  in  1660  Spinoza  continued  a 
friendly  correspondence  with  several  residents  in  Amster 
dam,  whom  he  also  visited  for  a  short  time  in  1663.  These 


correspondents  must  therefore  have  been  known  to  him 
during  his  stay  in  Amsterdam,  and  what  is  known  about 
them  helps  to  throw  some  light  on  this  obscure  period  in 
Spinoza's  life-history.  They  were  Pieter  Balling,  Jarig 
Jelles,  Dirck  Kerckrinck,  Lodewijk  Meyer,  Simon  Joosten  de 
Vries,  and  Jan  Rieuwertsz. 

Pieter  Balling  had  acted  for  some  time  as  the  representa 
tive  or  agent  of  various  Spanish  merchants.  And  it  is  just 
possible  that  Spinoza's  knowledge  of  Spanish  first  brought 
him  into  touch  with  him.  Balling  was  a  Mennonite,  and  a 
pronounced  enemy  of  dogmatism.  In  1662  he  published  a 
book  entitled  The  Light  on  the  Candlestick,  in  which  he 
attacked  religion  based  on  stereotyped  dogmas,  and  advo 
cated  a  religion,  partly  rationalistic,  partly  mystical,  based 
on  the  inward  light  of  the  soul.  The  whole  spirit  of  the 
book  might  be  summed  up  in  the  familiar  lines  of  Matthew 

Arnold  : 

"  These  hundred  doctors  try 

To  preach  thee  to  their  school. 
We  have  the  truth,  they  cry. 

And  yet  their  oracle, 
Trumpet  it  as  they  will,  is  but  the  same  as  thine. 

"  Once  read  thy  own  breast  right, 
And  thou  has  done  with  fears. 
Man  gets  no  other  light, 

Search  he  a  thousand  years. 
Sink  in  thyself:  there  ask  what  ails  thee,  at  that  shrine." 

In  1664  he  translated  into  Dutch  Spinoza's  version  of 
Descartes'  Principia.  In  a  letter  written  in  the  same  year, 
we  see  Spinoza  trying  to  console  Balling  on  the  loss  of  his 
child,  and  dealing  tenderly  with  Balling's  "  premonitions  " 
of  his  impending  loss. 

Jarig  Jelles  was  at  one  time  a  spice-merchant  in  Amster 
dam,  but  feeling  that  "  knowledge  is  better  than  choice 
gold,  that  wisdom  is  better  than  rubies,  and  all  the  things 


that  may  be  desired  are  not  to  be  compared  to  her/'  he  left 
his  business  in  the  charge  of  a  manager,  and  devoted  him 
self  to  study.  He  wrote  a  book  to  show  that  Cartesianism 
did  not  lead  to  atheism,  but  was,  on  the  contrary,  quite 
compatible  with  the  Christian  religion.  Spinoza  seems  to 
have  helped  him  in  the  composition  of  this  book.  Jelles 
was  one  of  the  friends  who  persuaded  Spinoza  to  publish 
his  version  of  Descartes'  Principia,  and  even  defrayed  the 
cost  of  its  publication.  He  also  took  an  active  share  in  the 
publication  of  Spinoza's  posthumous  works,  the  preface  to 
which  is  so  similar  in  tone  to  the  book  of  Jelles  that  he  is 
regarded  as  its  author  by  some  very  competent  authorities. 

Dirck  Kerckrinck  was  seven  years  younger  than  Spinoza, 
whom  he  first  met  at  Van  den  Enden's  school  (?  1652-6). 
He  studied  medicine,  and  became  the  author  of  various 
medical  treatises.  Colerus  relates  some  gossip  to  the  effect 
that  Spinoza  and  Kerckrinck  were  rivals  for  the  hand  of 
Clara  Maria,  the  gifted  daughter  of  Van  den  Enden,  and 
that  she  accepted  Kerckrinck  because  he  was  rich,  while 
Spinoza  was  poor.  But  as  Clara  Maria  was  born  in  1644, 
this  very  natural  attempt  to  introduce  a  touch  of  romance 
into  Spinoza's  life  of  single  blessedness  is  an  utter  failure. 
Clara  Maria  was  barely  sixteen  when  Spinoza  left  Amster 
dam  for  good  in  1660,  and  he  had  ceased  to  be  her  father's 
pupil  in  1654  or,  at  the  latest,  in  1656.  As  an  inmate  in  her 
father's  house  he  may  have  been  fond  of  her  as  a  mere 
child,  and  some  expression  of  endearment  uttered  in  that 
sense  probably  gave  rise  to  this  pretty  tale.  It  is  true,  how 
ever,  that  Kerckrinck  did  marry  her  in  1671,  as  already 
mentioned.  Spinoza  possessed  several  of  the  medical  works 
of  Kerckrinck,  who  had,  no  doubt,  sent  them  to  him  as  an 
old  friend  of  his. 

Lodewijk  Meyer  was  a  medical  practitioner  in  Amsterdam. 
He  was  about  two  years  older  than  Spinoza,  and  a  man  of 
versatile  talents.  He  had  studied  not  only  medicine  but 


also  philosophy  and  theology,  made  his  bid  as  poet  and 
dramatist,  lexicographer  and  stage -manager,  and  was  the 
moving  spirit  in  a  certain  literary  society,  the  name  and 
motto  of  which  was  (as  we  need  scarcely  be  surprised  to 
hear)  Nil  volentibus  arduum.  It  was  he  who  wrote  the 
interesting  preface  to  Spinoza's  version  of  Descartes' 

Simon  Joosten  de  Vries  was  an  Amsterdam  merchant. 
He  was  only  about  a  year  younger  than  Spinoza,  though  his 
attitude  towards  Spinoza  was  always  that  of  a  humble 
disciple.  He  studied  medicine  under  the  direction  of 
Spinoza,  and  his  attachment  to  Spinoza  is  evident  from  a 
letter  of  his  written  in  1663,  after  Spinoza  had  left  Amster 
dam.  "  For  a  long  time,"  he  writes,  "  I  have  been  longing 
to  be  with  you  ;  but  the  weather  and  the  hard  winter  have 
not  been  propitious  to  me.  Sometimes  I  complain  of  my 
lot  in  being  removed  from  you  by  a  distance  which  separates 
us  so  much.  Happy,  most  happy,  is  your  companion 
Casearius,  who  lives  with  you  under  the  same  roof,  and  who 
can  converse  with  you  on  the  most  excellent  topics  during 
dinner,  or  supper,  or  on  your  walks.  But  although  we  are  so 
far  apart  in  the  body,  yet  you  have  constantly  been  present 
to  my  mind,  especially  when  I  take  your  writings  in  my 
hand,  and  apply  myself  to  them."  In  the  same  letter  he 
reports  about  a  philosophical  society  for  the  study  of 
Spinoza's  philosophy,  as  communicated  to  de  Vries  and 
others  in  manuscript  form,  and  asks  for  further  elucidation 
of  some  difficult  points.  The  sincerity  and  extent  of  his 
devotion  was  further  shown  by  his  offer  of  a  gift  of  2000 
florins  to  Spinoza,  which  was,  however,  declined.  Later  on, 
Simon  de  Vries,  whose  health  was  even  less  satisfactory 
than  Spinoza's,  feeling  that  his  end  was  drawing  nigh, 
desired  to  make  Spinoza  his  heir.  Again  the  philosopher 
dissuaded  him,  urging  the  prior  claims  of  the  testator's  own 
kindred.  On  the  death  of  Simon  de  Vries  his  brother 


offered  to  Spinoza  an  annuity  of  500  florins,  but  Spinoza 
declined  to  take  more  than  300  florins. 

Jan  Rieuwertsz  was  a  bookseller  at  Amsterdam,  and  some 
fifteen  years  older  than  Spinoza.  He  was  a  Collegiant, 
and  very  liberal  in  his  views.  His  shop  enjoyed  the  evil 
reputation  of  being  the  seat  of  scoffers.  He  published  and 
stocked  the  works  of  many  authors  of  unorthodox  repute, 
including  those  of  Descartes,  Balling,  Jelles,  and  Spinoza. 
His  son  also  was  a  devoted  admirer  of  Spinoza. 

Such  were  some  of  the  men  with  whom  Spinoza  stood  in 
friendly  relationship  during  his  last  years  in  Amsterdam. 
Further  details  are  wanting.  Possibly  he  had  given  private 
tuition  to  Simon  de  Vries  (who  speaks  of  him  as  "  master  "), 
Balling,  and  others  ;  or  he  may  have  held  some  kind  of 
seminar  or  class  for  the  informal  discussion  of  religious  and 
philosophical  questions.  If  so,  the  substance  of  his  Meta 
physical  Thoughts  (which  were  subsequently  appended  to  his 
version  of  Descartes'  Principia)  and  of  his  Short  Treatise  on 
God,  Man  and  his  Well-being  must  have  been  elaborated 
during  these  years,  and  for  these  purposes.  This  would  also 
account  for  the  continuation  or  revival  of  similar  meetings 
for  the  discussion  of  Spinoza's  views,  as  reported  in  the 
letter  of  Simon  de  Vries. 

Little  as  is  known  of  these  years,  there  can  be  no  doubt 
that  they  were  years  of  storm  and  stress  in  the  mental  history 
of  Spinoza.  This  much  may  be  gathered  from  the  impres 
sive  pages  with  which  he  opens  his  Treatise  on  the  Improve 
ment  of  the  Understanding. 

"  After  experience  had  taught  me  [so  he  writes]  that  all  things 
which  are  ordinarily  encountered  in  common  life  are  vain  and 
futile,  and  when  I  saw  that  all  things  which  occasioned  me  any 
anxiety  or  fear  had  in  themselves  nothing  of  good  or  evil,  except 
in  so  far  as  the  mind  was  moved  by  them  ;  I  at  length  determined  to 
inquire  if  there  were  anything  which  was  a  true  good  capable  of  im 
parting  itself,  and  by  which  alone  the  mind  could  be  affected  to  the 


exclusion  of  all  else ;  whether,  indeed,  anything  existed  by  the  dis 
covery  and  acquisition  of  which  I  might  have  continuous  and 
supreme  joy  to  all  eternity,  I  say  that  /  at  length  determined :  for 
at  first  sight  it  seemed  unwise  to  be  willing  to  let  go  something 
certain  for  something  that  was  yet  uncertain.  I  saw,  forsooth,  the 
advantages  which  are  derived  from  honour  and  riches,  and  that  I 
should  be  obliged  to  abstain  from  the  quest  of  these  if  I  wished 
to  give  serious  application  to  something  different  and  new :  and  if, 
perchance,  supreme  happiness  should  lie  in  them,  I  saw  clearly  that 
I  should  have  to  do  without  it ;  but  if,  on  the  other  hand,  it  did 
not  lie  in  them,  and  I  applied  myself  only  to  them,  then  I  should 
also  have  to  go  without  the  highest  happiness.  I,  therefore,  re 
volved  in  my  mind  whether,  perchance,  it  would  not  be  possible  to 
arrive  at  the  new  plan  of  life,  or,  at  least,  some  certainty  about  it, 
without  any  change  in  the  order  and  usual  plan  of  my  life,  a  thing 
which  I  have  often  attempted  in  vain.  Now  the  things  which  one 
mostly  meets  with  in  life,  and  which,  so  far  as  one  may  gather  from 
their  actions,  men  esteem  as  the  highest  good,  are  reducible  to 
these  three,  namely,  riches,  honour,  and  pleasure.  By  these  three 
the  mind  is  so  distracted  that  it  can  scarcely  think  of  any  other 
good.  .  .  .  When,  therefore,  I  saw  that  all  these  things  stood  in 
the  way  of  my  applying  myself  to  any  new  plan  of  life;  in  fact, 
that  they  were  so  opposed  to  it  that  one  must  necessarily  abstain 
either  from  the  one  or  from  the  other,  I  was  forced  to  inquire  which 
would  be  the  more  useful  to  me;  for,  as  I  have  already  said,  I 
seemed  to  be  willing  to  let  go  a  sure  good  for  something  uncertain. 
But  after  brooding  a  little  over  this  subject  I  found,  in  the  first 
place,  that  if  I  let  go  those  things  and  devoted  myself  to  the  new 
plan  of  life  I  should  be  letting  go  a  good  uncertain  by  its  very 
nature  ...  for  one  which  was  uncertain,  not  in  its  nature  .  .  . 
but  only  as  regards  its  attainment.  After  unremitting  reflection  I 
came  to  see  that,  if  I  could  only  make  up  my  mind  thoroughly, 
then  I  should  give  up  sure  evils  for  a  sure  good.  .  .  .  Not  with 
out  reason  did  I  use  the  words,  if  I  could  only  make  up  my  mind 
thoroughly.  For  although  I  saw  this  so  clearly  in  my  mind,  yet  I 
could  not  thus  put  aside  all  avarice,  sensuous  pleasure,  and  the  desire 
for  fame.  This  one  thing  I  saw,  that  so  long  as  my  mind  revolved 
these  thoughts,  so  long,  did  it  turn  away  from  those  things,  and 
consixjer  seripusly  the  new  plan  of  life.  This  was  .a  great  comfort 


to  me.  .  .  .  And  although  at  first  these  periods  were  rare  and 
only  of  very  brief  duration,  yet  as  the  true  good  gradually  became 
better  known  to  me  so  these  periods  grew  more  frequent  and 

The  above  "  confession"  was  written  by  Spinoza  in  1661. 
The  inner  struggle  between  worldly  allurements  and  the 
beck  of  the  spirit  was  over  then.  Indeed  already  his  earlier 
work,  the  Short  Treatise,  which  was  completed  in  1660,  bears 
unmistakable  evidence  of  the  peace  which  crowned  that 
inward  conflict.  This  conflict  must  therefore  be  referred 
to  the  years  immediately  preceding  1660.  His  last  years  in 
Amsterdam,  when  he  made  his  first  acquaintance  with  real 
life  and  the  struggle  for  existence,  must  have  brought  home 
to  him  often  enough  the  desirableness  of  worldly  goods, 
and  the  hardships  of  poverty  and  obscurity.  After  all,  he 
was  human,  and  he  could  scarcely  escape  the  common  lot 
of  mortals — the  conflict  between  the  two  souls  which  dwell 
in  mortal  breast.  But  Spinoza  was  not  given  to  speak  about 
himself.  He  lifts  but  a  corner  of  the  veil,  behind  which  we 
may  well  conjecture  scenes  of  storm  and  stress  during  the 
period  intervening  between  his  excommunication  in  1656 
and  his  departure  from  Amsterdam  in  1660.  Early  in  that 
year,  weary  of  the  whir  and  the  worldliness  of  that  com 
mercial  centre,  he  went  to  dwell  among  unworldly  folk  with 
old-world  virtues  in  an  out-of-the-world  village — Rijnsburg. 
He  withdrew  from  the  madding  crowd,  but  not  in  disgust 
or  misanthropy.  He  had  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  highest 
good  of  man,  and  he  wanted  to  strengthen  his  hold  thereon 
under  more  favourable  conditions.  He  had  discovered  that 
the  sorrows  of  man  "arise  from  the  love  of  the  transient," 
while  "love  for  an  object  eternal  and  infinite  feeds  the 
mind  with  unmixed  joy,  free  from  all  sorrow." 


§6.  SPINOZA'S  STAY  IN  RIJNSBURG— 1660-1663 

Rijnsburg  is  a  village  some  six  or  seven  miles  north-west 
of  Leyden.  Its  modest  cottages,  narrow  lanes,  quiet  water 
ways,  and  quaint  medieval  church  still  present  an  old-world 
appearance  very  much  as  in  the  days  of  Spinoza — except, 
of  course,  for  the  clumsy,  though  convenient,  steam-trams 
which  pass  by  on  their  way  to  and  from  Leyden  and 
Katwijk — or  Noordwijk-aan-Zee.  Within  easy  walking  dis 
tance  from  it,  on  the  road  to  Leyden,  is  Endgeest,  a  nice 
rural  little  place  where  Descartes  once  stayed  for  a  number 
of  years,  but  now  noted  chiefly  for  its  lunatic  asylum. 

During  the  seventeenth  century  Rijnsburg  was  the  head 
quarters  of  the  Collegiants.  This  sect,  whose  origin  has 
already  been  explained  above,  repudiated  infant  baptism, 
and  insisted  on  adult  baptism  by  immersion.  And  Rijnsburg, 
on  the  old  Rhein,  was  their  place  of  baptism.  That  was  the 
reason  why  the  Collegiants  were  also  commonly  called  the 
"  Rijnsburgers."  Now  Spinoza,  as  we  have  seen,  numbered 
several  Collegiants  among  his  friends,  and  it  was  probably 
on  the  suggestion  of  one  of  his  Collegiant  friends  that  he 
went  to  live  there.  At  all  events,  early  in  the  year  1660  he 
seems  to  have  taken  up  his  quarters  there,  probably  with  a 
surgeon  of  the  name  Hermann  Homan,  in  a  newly  built 
little  cottage  standing  in  a  narrow  lane,  which  has  since 
then  come  to  be  known  as  Spinoza  Lane.  Some  time  after 
wards,  apparently,  the  landlord's  pious  humanitarianism  led 
him  to  inscribe  or  to  have  inscribed  on  a  stone  in  the  cottage 
wall  the  well-meant  message  expressed  in  the  concluding 
stanza  of  Kamphuyzen's  May  Morning : 

"  Alas  !  if  all  men  would  be  wise, 

And  would  be  good  as  well, 
The  Earth  would  be  a  Paradise, 
Now  it  is  mostly  Hell." 


And  it  was  by  this  inscription  that,  on  the  authority  of  an 
old  tradition,  the  cottage  has  been  identified.  It  is  still  in 
existence,  and  is  still  surrounded  by  open  fields  rich  in 
garden  produce  and  bulbs.  Restored,  and  equipped  with 
all  that  diligent  search  could  find  and  that  money  could 
procure  in  the  way  of  things  interesting  to  students  of 
Spinoza,  the  cottage  is  now  known  as  the  Spinoza-huis  or 
Spinoza  Museum,  and  serves  as  a  kind  of  shrine  sacred  to 
the  memory  of  the  philosopher,  and  many  pilgrims  bend 
their  footsteps  there  to  pay  homage  to  a  profound  mind  and 
lofty  character,  and  feel  something  of  his  calm  of  mind  in 
that  haunt  of  ancient  peace. 

One  reason  which  prompted  Spinoza  to  seek  a  quiet 
retreat  was  probably  the  desire  to  write  down  his  thoughts 
in  some  systematic  form.  Dissatisfied  with  the  Scholastic 
philosophy  still  in  vogue  then,  he  and  his  friends  had  turned 
eagerly  to  the  writings  of  Descartes.  The  opposition  of  the 
strict  Calvinists  to  the  Cartesian  philosophy  rather  tended  to 
recommend  it  to  the  Remonstrants  (including  the  Colle- 
giants),  and,  indeed,  to  all  who  had  suffered  from,  or  were 
opposed  to,  the  religious  intolerance  of  the  dominant 
Reformed  Church.  The  cry  for  impartiality  and  an  open 
mind  in  the  interpretation  of  Scripture  was  felt  to  have  a 
certain  kinship  with  the  Cartesian  method  of  philosophising, 
his  preliminary  doubt  of  whatever  could  be  reasonably 
disputed.  Hence  there  was  a  gradual  coalition  between 
liberal  religion  and  Cartesian  philosophy.  Spinoza's  friends 
were  mostly  Cartesians,  and  remained  such  to  the  end. 
Whether  Spinoza  himself  was  ever  a  thoroughgoing  Cartesian 
is  not  known.  That  Descartes'  writings  exercised  a  very 
potent  influence  on  Spinoza  there  is  no  doubt  what 
ever.  By  1660,  however,  Spinoza  had  already  outgrown  the 
fundamentals  of  Cartesian  Metaphysics,  though  he  still  con 
tinued  to  follow  Descartes  in  his  Physics.  Now  we  have 
already  remarked  that,  during  his  last  years  in  Amsterdam, 


Spinoza  seems  to  have  acted  as  teacher  or  leader  of  a  small 
philosophical  circle.     Its  members,  including  Spinoza  him 
self,  were  primarily  interested  in  religious  questions  at  first. 
They  approached  philosophy  from  the  side  of  religion,  and 
only  in  so  far  as  religious  problems  led  up  to  philosophical 
considerations.     God  and  His  attributes,  Nature  and  Crea 
tion,  Man  and  his  Well-being,  the  nature   of   the  Human 
Mind  and  the  Immortality  of  the  Soul — these  were  the  topics 
which  chiefly  interested  them,  and  on  which,  we  may  assume, 
Spinoza  had  accumulated  various  notes  for  those  informal 
talks  with  them.     These  notes  he  wanted  to  elaborate  and 
to  systematise.     This  was  the  first  task  which  occupied  him 
at  Rijnsburg,  and  it  resulted  in  the  Short  Treatise  on  God, 
Man   and  his   Well-being.     But   he  continued  to   keep   in 
touch  with  his  Amsterdam  friends  and  sent  them  the  parts  of 
the  manuscript  as  he  completed  them.     Though  Cartesian  in 
appearance,  and  partly  also  in  substance,  the  Short  Treatise, 
Spinoza's  very  first   philosophical    essay,   already  marks   a 
definite  departure  from  the  philosophy  of  Descartes,  in  its 
identification    of    God   with    Nature,    and    its    consequent 
determinism  and  naturalism.     Spinoza  himself  fully  realised 
the    extent    of    his    deviation   from     Descartes,    and    the 
novelty  of  his  views  even  as  compared  with  the  novelties 
of  Cartesianism,  which  was  at  that  time  "  the   new  philo 
sophy "  par  excellence.      So  he  begged  his  friends  not  to 
be  impatient  with  his  novel  views,  but  to   consider  them 
carefully,  remembering   that  "a  thing  does  not   therefore 
cease   to   be  true   because   it   is   not   accepted  by  many." 
He  also  realised  that  some  of  these  views  were  liable  to 
prove  rather  dangerous  to  minds  more  eager  for  novelty 
than  for  truth.     He  was  therefore  careful  about  the  kind 
of  people  to  whom  he  communicated  his  views,  and  also 
begged  his  trusted  friends  to  be  careful  likewise.     Caution 
was  also  necessary  on  account  of  the  unremitting  vigilance 
of  heretic-hunters. 

[Conclusion  of  Spinoza's  letter  to  Oldenburg.  October  1661.    S«  p.  cxxiii.] 


"As  the  character  of  the  age  in  which  we  live  [Spinoza  adds]  is 
not  unknown  to  you,  I  would  beg  of  you  most  earnestly  to  be  very 
careful  about  the  communication  of  these  things  to  others.  I  do 
not  want  to  say  that  you  should  absolutely  keep  them  to  yourselves, 
but  only  that  if  ever  you  wish  to  communicate  them  to  others,  then 
you  shall  have  no  other  object  in  view  except  only  the  happiness  of 
your  neighbour ;  being  at  the  same  time  clearly  assured  that  the 
reward  of  your  labour  will  not  disappoint  you  therein." 

Having  finished  the  first  draft  of  his  Short  Treatise 
Spinoza  felt  that  he  had  attacked  all  the  great  problems  of 
religion  and  of  philosophy,  without  any  preliminary  account 
of  the  requirements  of  philosophic  method,  without  any 
adequate  justification  of  his  own  mode  of  treatment.  To 
this  problem,  accordingly,  he  turned  his  attention  next, 
and  began  his  Treatise  on  the  Improvement  of  the  Under 
standing.  In  a  letter  dated  October  1661,  in  reply  to  some 
questions  of  Henry  Oldenburg,  Spinoza  states  that  he  had 
written  a  complete  little  treatise  on  the  origin  of  things,  and 
their  relation  to  the  first  cause,  and  also  on  the  improvement 
of  the  understanding,  and  that  he  was  actually  busy  just 
then  copying  and  correcting  it.  It  would  appear  from  this 
that  Spinoza's  intention  at  that  time  may  have  been  to 
combine  the  Short  Treatise  and  the  Treatise  on  the  Improve 
ment  of  the  Understanding.  What  actually  happened,  how 
ever,  is  not  quite  certain.  The  editors  of  Spinoza's 
posthumous  works  only  had  a  fragment  of  the  Treatise  on 
the  Improvement  of  the  Understanding,  and  apparently 
nothing  of  the  Short  Treatise,  of  which  we  only  possess  at 
present  two  Dutch  versions,  discovered  about  1860.  The 
editors  of  the  Opera  Posthuma  say  that  the  Treatise  on  the 
Improvement  of  the  Understanding  was  one  of  Spinoza's 
earliest  works,  and  that  he  had  never  finished  it,  but  they 
appear  to  be  uncertain  whether  it  was  only  want  of  time  or 
the  inherent  difficulties  of  the  subject  which  prevented  him 
from  finishing  it. 


In  the  meantime  Spinoza  seems  to  have  acquired  some 
reputation  not  only  with  the  Rijnsburgers  but  even  among 
some  of  the  professors  at  Leyden.  This  may  have  been  due 
to  his  participation  in  the  Collegiant  Conferences  held  at 
Rijnsburg.  These  conferences  for  the  discussion  of  religious 
questions  were  open  to  all  who  cared  to  come.  And  some 
of  the  students  from  the  neighbouring  University  at  Leyden 
made  a  practice  of  attending  these  meetings  and  taking 
part  in  the  debates.  Some  of  them  very  likely  came  there 
for  fun,  though  others,  no  doubt,  had  worthier  motives. 
It  was  in  this  way  that  Spinoza  came  into  touch  with, 
among  others,  Johannes  Casearius  and  the  brothers 
Adriaan  and  Johannes  Koerbagh,  of  whom  more  will  be 
said  anon.  And  in  this  way  also  Spinoza's  name  and 
history  may  have  become  known  to  some  of  the  Leyden 
professors,  among  them  Johannes  Coccejus,  professor  of 
theology,  famous  as  the  author  of  the  first  standard  Hebrew 
dictionary,  and  even  more  so  as  the  author  of  the  dictum 
that  an  interpreter  of  the  Scriptures  should  approach  his 
task  with  a  mind  free  from  all  dogmatic  prejudices — the 
dictum  which  helped  to  bring  about  a  kind  of  alliance 
between  the  Remonstrants  and  the  Cartesians,  to  which 
reference  has  already  been  made.  Now  Coccejus  was  a 
native  of  Bremen,  and  when  his  countryman  Henry 
Oldenburg  visited  Leyden  in  1661,  eager  as  usual  to  make 
the  acquaintance  of  everybody  who  was  remarkable  in 
any  way,  Coccejus  may  have  suggested  to  him  a  visit  to 
Spinoza.  Possibly  Oldenburg  had  also  heard  something 
about  Spinoza  from  Huygens,  who  was  in  correspondence 
with  the  English  scientists  among  whom  Oldenburg  had 
moved,  had  actually  visited  London  that  very  year,  and 
may  have  met  Oldenburg  at  one  of  the  meetings  of  the 
"  Gresham  College,"  which  was  soon  to  blossom  into  the 
"  Royal  Society."  At  all  events,  in  July  1661  Oldenburg 
visited  Spinoza  in  Rijnsburg. 


Henry  Oldenburg,  as  already  remarked,  was  a  native  of 
Bremen,  where  he  was  born  about  1620.  During  the  war 
between  England  and  Holland  which  followed  Cromwell's 
enforcement  of  the  Navigation  Act,  in  1651,  the  shipowners 
of  Bremen  seem  to  have  suffered.  It  was  therefore  decided 
to  send  an  envoy  to  make  representations  to  Cromwell  con 
cerning  the  neutrality  of  Bremen.  Accordingly  in  1653 
Henry  Oldenburg  was  entrusted  with  this  diplomatic  mis 
sion,  which  brought  him  into  touch  with  Milton,  who  was 
then  Latin  Secretary  to  the  Council,  and  other  eminent 
Englishmen  of  the  time.  For  some  reason  he  remained  in 
England  after  the  conclusion  of  his  mission,  staying  in 
Oxford  in  1656,  and  acting  as  private  tutor  to  various  young 
gentlemen,  including  Boyle's  nephew,  Richard  Jones,  with 
whom  he  travelled  in  France,  Germany,  and  Italy,  during 
the  years  1657-1660,  attending  the  most  important  academies 
of  science,  and  becoming  acquainted  with  the  great  lights 
of  the  scientific  world.  During  his  stay  in  Oxford,  Olden 
burg  had  been  associated  with  the  leading  spirits  of  the 
"  Invisible  College,"  a  society  for  the  discussion  of  scientific 
problems.  There  was  a  similar  society  in  London,  the 
"Gresham  College."  With  the  Restoration  of  Charles  II., 
in  1660,  it  was  decided  to  apply  for  a  Charter  for  the 
formation  of  a  "  Royal  Society  "  to  carry  on  the  work  of 
these  two  societies,  and  an  acting  secretary  was  required  to 
undertake  the  work  of  organisation,  &c.  Just  then  Olden 
burg  returned  from  his  continental  tour,  and  his  wide 
reading  and  extensive  knowledge  of  men  and  matters 
marked  him  out  as  just  the  man  for  the  post,  for  which  he 
was  accordingly  nominated.  In  the  following  year,  1661, 
Oldenburg  had  occasion  to  visit  his  native  town,  Bremen, 
and  on  his  return  journey  via  Holland,  he  visited  Leyden 
(among  other  places),  and  thence  Rijnsburg,  where,  as 
already  mentioned,  he  had  a  long  interview  with  Spinoza. 
The  subject  discussed  on  that  occasion  and  the  impres- 


sion  which  Spinoza  made  on  Oldenburg  may  be  gathered 
from  the  following  letter  which  Oldenburg  wrote  to  Spinoza 
immediately  after  his  return  to  London,  in  August  1661. 
"  It  was  with  such  reluctance  [he  writes]  that  I  tore  myself 
away  from  your  side,  when  I  recently  visited  you  in  your 
retreat  at  Rijnsburg,  that  no  sooner  am  I  back  in  England 
than  I  already  try  to  join  you  again,  at  least  as  far  as  this 
can  be  effected  by  means  of  correspondence.  Solid  learn 
ing  combined  with  kindliness  and  refinement  (wherewith 
Nature  and  Study  have  most  richly  endowed  you)  have 
such  an  attraction  that  they  win  the  love  of  all  noble  and 
liberally  educated  men.  Let  us,  therefore,  most  excellent 
sir,  give  each  other  the  right  hand  of  unfeigned  friendship, 
and  cultivate  it  diligently  by  every  kind  of  attention  and 
service.  Whatever  service  my  humble  powers  can  render, 
consider  as  yours.  And  permit  me  to  claim  a  part  of  those 
intellectual  gifts  which  you  possess,  if  I  may  do  so  without 
detriment  to  you.  Our  conversation  at  Rijnsburg  turned 
on  God,  infinite  Extension  and  Thought,  on  the  difference 
and  the  agreement  between  these  attributes,  on  the  nature 
of  the  union  of  the  human  soul  with  the  body  ;  and  further, 
on  the  Principles  of  the  Cartesian  and  the  Baconian  Philo 
sophy.  But  as  we  then  discussed  themes  of  such  moment 
only  at  a  distance,  as  it  were,  and  cursorily,  and  as  all  those 
things  have  since  then  been  lying  heavily  on  my  mind,  I 
now  venture  to  claim  the  right  of  our  new  friendship  to  ask 
you  affectionately  to  explain  to  me  somewhat  more  fully 
your  views  on  the  above-mentioned  subjects,  and  not  to 
mind  enlightening  me,  more  especially  on  these  two  points, 
namely,  first,  what  do  you  consider  to  be  the  true  distinc 
tion  between  Extension  and  Thought  ;  secondly,  what 
defects  do  you  observe  in  the  Philosophy  of  Descartes  and 
of  Bacon,  and  how,  do  you  think,  might  they  be  eliminated, 
and  replaced  by  something  more  sound  ?  The  more  freely 
you  write  to  me  about  these  and  the  like,  the  more  closely 


will  you  bind  me  to  yourself,  and  the  greater  will  be  my 
obligation  to  render  similar  services,  if  at  all  possible." 
The  letter  concludes  with  a  promise  to  send  Spinoza  a 
volume  of  scientific  essays  by  Robert  Boyle,  between  whom 
and  Spinoza,  Oldenburg  subsequently  acted  as  a  kind  of 

It  is  not  at  all  clear  what  kind  of  an  introduction  Olden 
burg  had  to  Spinoza,  or,  indeed,  whether  he  had  any 
introduction  at  all.  And  Spinoza  was  neither  so  loquacious 
nor  so  indiscreet  as  to  unburden  his  whole  mind  to  a 
stranger.  But  he  had  evidently  treated  Oldenburg  un 
grudgingly  and  with  his  wonted  courtesy,  and  Oldenburg's 
letter  is  certainly  very  remarkable  for  its  tone  of  generous 
appreciation — all  the  more  remarkable  because  he  was  con 
siderably  older  than  Spinoza,  and  had  been  befriended  by 
so  many  of  the  intellectual  giants  of  that  period,  while 
Spinoza  was  apparently  an  obscure  outcast. 

It  is  noteworthy  that  Spinoza's  conversation  with  Olden 
burg  turned  on  Bacon  and  Descartes.  This  is  not  surprising, 
for  Spinoza  was  at  that  time  (1661)  very  much  occupied 
with  the  question  of  philosophical  method,  and  the  two 
alternatives  which  he  must  have  been  carefully  weighing 
against  each  other  were  the  empirical,  inductive  method  of 
Bacon,  and  the  deductive,  geometric  method  of  Descartes. 
This  was  the  very  problem  with  which  he  was  then  grap 
pling  in  his  Treatise  on  the  Improvement  of  the  Understanding, 
as  we  gather  from  his  subsequent  reply  to  Oldenburg,  which 
has  already  been  cited  above.  Spinoza  ultimately  sided  with 
Descartes,  in  favour  of  the  geometric  method.  He  felt 
that  the  deductive  method  was  the  right  one  in  philosophy, 
and  that  the  best  form  of  exposition  was  that  exemplified  in 
Euclid's  geometry.  This  had  already  been  urged,  and,  to 
some  extent,  also  illustrated  by  Descartes ;  and  Spinoza 
also  now  tried  a  similar  experiment  by  casting  one  of  the 
chapters  of  his  Short  Treatise  into  geometric  form,  consti- 


tuting  what  is  now  its  First  Appendix.  Soon  afterwards 
he  was  occupied  even  more  with  Descartes,  and  tried  a 
much  more  extensive  experiment  in  the  application  of  the 
geometric  method. 

In  1662,  possibly  in  the  winter  of  1661-2,  Johannes 
Casearius,  a  student  of  Theology  at  the  University  of 
Leyden,  came  to  stay  in  Rijnsburg,  and  lived  in  the  same 
house  with  Spinoza,  who  agreed  to  help  him  with  the  study 
of  philosophy.  Casearius  was  only  about  nineteen  then, 
apparently  rather  immature  and  fickle-minded,  more  devoted 
to  novelty  than  to  truth.  He  proved  to  be  very  trying  to 
Spinoza,  and  caused  him  some  anxiety.  Still,  Spinoza  had 
faith  in  the  youth's  good  qualities,  which  only  required 
a  little  time  to  mature  and  assert  themselves.  And  the 
subsequent  history  of  Casearius  confirmed  Spinoza's  antici 
pations.  In  the  meantime,  however,  Spinoza  had  to  be 
cautious  in  the  treatment  of  his  pupil.  What  Casearius  no 
doubt  wanted  of  Spinoza  was,  that  he  should  expound  to 
him  the  newest  philosophy.  This  generally  meant  Carte- 
sianism  then.  Spinoza  had  something  newer  than  that,  and 
Casearius  may  have  got  some  inkling  of  this,  and  came  to 
him  for  that  reason.  But  Spinoza  did  not  think  it  good  for 
one  of  his  youth  and  temper.  He  therefore  decided  to 
teach  him  the  essentials  of  the  scholastic  metaphysics  as 
then  taught  at  most  of  the  universities,  but  to  combine  with 
it  a  good  deal  of  his  own  criticism,  and  also  to  substitute 
altogether  the  Cartesian  for  the  older  physics.  He  had 
probably  pursued  a  very  similar  course  with  his  previous 
pupils  in  Amsterdam.  But  being  convinced  by  this  time 
that  the  geometric  method  was  the  most  persuasive  method 
of  imparting  knowledge,  he  turned  the  Second  Part  and 
a  portion  of  the  Third  Part  of  Descartes'  Principia  into 
geometric  form. 

In  the  meanwhile,  Spinoza  had  been  growing  discontented 
with  his  Short  Treatise.  For  a  time  he  probably  tried  to 


bring  it  into  line  with  the  continuous  advance  of  his  thought 
by  means  of  modifications  and  additional  notes.  Finding, 
however,  that  he  could  wield  the  geometric  method  of 
exposition  so  well,  he  seems  to  have  decided  to  start 
afresh,  and  to  do  for  his  own  philosophy  what  he  had 
already  done,  in  a  measure,  for  the  philosophy  of  Descartes. 
In  short,  he  commenced  his  Ethics,  and  early  in  the  follow 
ing  year,  1663,  a  part,  if  not  the  whole,  of  the  First  Book  of 
the  Ethics  was  already  in  the  hands  of  his  Amsterdam 

By  that  time,  however,  Spinoza  was  already  preparing  to 
leave  Rijnsburg.  He  had  been  there  about  three  years 
then.  Most  likely  they  were  his  happiest  years.  They  were 
certainly  among  his  most  fruitful  years.  But  one  of  the 
reasons  which  had  brought  him  there  also  drove  him  away 
now.  He  had  come  there  so  as  to  be  able  to  work  quietly, 
undisturbed  by  friend  or  foe.  And  for  the  first  two  years 
or  so  his  hopes  were  realised.  But  gradually,  as  his  circle 
of  friends  and  acquaintances  extended,  more  and  more  of 
his  time  was  taken  up  by  them,  and  taken  away  from  his 
work.  He  therefore  decided  to  remove  from  there  to 
Voorburg,  near  the  Hague.  He  left  Rijnsburg  in  April 
1663,  but,  before  going  to  Voorburg,  he  wanted  to  see  his 
old  friends  again,  and  went  accordingly  to  Amsterdam, 
where  he  stayed  about  two  months.  While  on  this  visit  to 
Amsterdam  he  showed  to  his  friends  his  Euclidean  version 
of  Descartes'  Principia,  Part  II.  Jarig  Jelles,  Lodewijk 
Meyer,  and  other  Cartesian  friends  of  his  thereupon  per 
suaded  him  to  do  the  same  with  the  first  part  of  the  Principia. 
He  did  so  in  a  fortnight,  and  consented  to  their  publication, 
together  with  his  own  Metaphysical  Thoughts,  on  condition 
that  Meyer  revised  the  whole  work,  improving  its  phrase 
ology  where  necessary,  and  adding  a  preface  to  explain  that 
Spinoza  was  far  from  being  in  entire  agreement  with  the 
Cartesian  philosophy,  even  as  thus  moulded  in  the  Euclidean 


mould.  This  was  readily  done,  and  the  work  appeared  soon 
afterwards.  It  was  published  by  Rieuwertsz  ;  Meyer  wrote 
the  Preface  ;  and  this  was  followed  by  a  poem,  Ad  Librum, 
composed  by  J[ohannes]  B[ouwmeister],  M.D.,  Meyer's 
"  oldest  and  best  friend."  It  was  the  only  book  to  appear 
in  Spinoza's  lifetime  with  his  name  on  it.  Spinoza  (it 
should  be  noted  at  once  here)  had  no  delusions  about  the 
absolute  cogency  of  the  geometric  method.  For  in  his 
very  first  publication  he  expounded  and  defended  more 
geometrico  a  system  of  philosophy  with  which  he  did  not 

§7.  SPINOZA'S  STAY  IN  VOORBURG— 1663-1670 

In  June  1663  Spinoza  arrived  in  Voorburg  and  took  up 
his  lodgings  in  the  Kerklaan,  at  the  house  of  a  painter  whose 
name  was  Daniel  Tydemann.  Though  little  more  than  half 
an  hour's  walk  from  the  Hague,  the  village  of  Voorburg  was 
at  that  time  almost  as  isolated  as  Rijnsburg,  and  there  were 
times  when  it  took  Spinoza  a  week  and  more  to  get  a  letter 
to  or  from  the  Hague.  During  the  next  two  years  or  so  he 
was  busily  at  work  on  his  Ethics.  But  he  found  time  also  to 
keep  up  a  fairly  extensive  correspondence  with  old  friends, 
to  make  new  friends,  and  to  pay  occasional  visits  to  other 
towns.  In  the  winter  of  1663-4  ne  returned  to  Rijnsburg  for 
about  two  months  ;  in  the  following  winter  (1664-5)  he  seems 
to  have  visited  either  the  sister  or  the  brother  of  Simon  de 
Vries,  at  Schiedam ;  in  the  following  April  (i665)he  visited  his 
old  friends  in  Amsterdam  ;  he  also  made  frequent  excursions 
to  the  Hague,  where  he  was  wont  to  stay  with  a  certain  Mesach 
Tydemann,  possibly  a  brother  of  his  Voorburg  landlord. 

If  Spinoza  found  Voorburg  rather  lonely  at  first,  conditions 
changed  soon  enough,  so  that  he  complained  that  he  was 
scarcely  his  own  master,  so  much  of  his  time  was  taken  up 


by  callers.  Of  the  people  with  whom  he  associated  more  or 
less  during  his  stay  in  Voorburg  the  most  interesting  were 
Vossius  the  philologist,  subsequently  Canon  of  Windsor 
(who  probably  consulted  Spinoza  on  subjects  relating  to  the 
Hebrew  language  and  literature,  much  as  his  father,  Gerhard 
Vossius,  used  to  consult  Manasseh  ben  Israel),  Christian 
Huygens,  Hudde,  van  Beuningen,  and  Jan  de  Witt. 

Christian  Huygens,  the  discoverer  of  Saturn's  rings,  inven 
tor  of  the  pendulum  clock,  and  originator  of  the  undulatory 
theory  of  light,  was  living  within  easy  walking  distance  of 
Spinoza  during  the  years  1664-6,  and  the  two  saw  a  good 
deal  of  one  another  during  that  period.  Both  of  them  were 
keenly  interested  in  the  making  and  improvement  of  lenses, 
and  this  common  interest  formed  their  chief  or  only  bond. 
In  character  the  two  men  were  very  unlike.  Spinoza  was 
generous  and  without  reserve  in  imparting  whatever  know 
ledge  he  possessed  and  which  might  be  of  service  to  others  ; 
Huygens,  on  the  other  hand,  was  stinting  and  ever  on  his 
guard  lest  his  trade  secrets  should  leak  out.  In  his  letters 
to  his  brothers,  Huygens  refers  to  Spinoza  as  I'Israelite,  le 
Juif  de  Voorburg,  or  noire  Juif,  asks  his  brother  to  inform 
him  of  Spinoza's  doings,  but  urges  him  to  keep  from  him  a 
certain  optical  secret  lest  Hudde  and  others  should  get  to 
hear  of  it  through  him.  To  strangers,  no  doubt,  he  spoke 
with  greater  respect  of  Spinoza.  To  Tschirnhaus,  for 
instance,  he  remarked  some  years  later  (1675)  that  he  had  a 
great  regard  for  Spinoza. 

It  was  probably  through  Huygens  that  Spinoza  got  to 
know  Johan  Hudde.  Hudde  was  Burgomaster  of  Amster 
dam,  and  a  member  of  the  States  of  Holland,  in  which 
capacity  he  had  frequent  occasion  to  visit  the  Hague,  which 
was  the  seat  of  government.  He  was,  moreover,  a  man  of 
a  scientific  bent  of  mind,  which  prompted  him  to  take  up 
the  art  of  grinding  lenses,  which  in  those  days  seems  to  have 
been  a  fashionable  hobby,  not  unlike  present-day  photo- 


graphy.  This  interest  in  lenses  may  have  led  to  his  seeking 
and  making  the  acquaintance  of  Huygens,  and;  through  him, 
of  Spinoza.  We  have  just  seen  how  anxious  Christian 
Huygens  was  lest  Hudde  should  learn  from  Spinoza  more 
than  Huygens  cared  that  he  should  know.  Hudde,  more 
over,  unlike  Huygens,  was  also  keenly  interested  in  problems 
of  religious  philosophy,  and  we  still  have  three  letters  which 
Spinoza  addressed  to  him  on  the  subject  of  God's  unity. 
Hudde  very  likely  introduced  Spinoza  to  some  of  his  friends 
in  the  political  sphere,  and  was,  no  doubt,  instrumental  in 
procuring  for  Spinoza  that  protection  and  patronage  the 
desire  for  which  was  possibly  one  of  the  chief  reasons  why 
Spinoza  had  come  to  live  near  the  Hague. 

When  Spinoza  gave  his  consent  to  the  publication  of  his 
version  of  Descartes'  Principia,  he  had  a  special  object  in 
view.  This  object  he  explained  clearly  in  his  letter  to  Olden 
burg,  in  the  latter  part  of  July  1663.  "  It  may  be  [he  writes] 
that  on  this  occasion  some  of  those  who  occupy  the  highest 
posts  in  my  fatherland  may  be  found  desirous  of  seeing  my 
other  writings,  which  I  do  acknowledge  as  expressing  my 
views  ;  they  will  then  enable  me  to  publish  them  without  any 
risk  of  violating  the  civil  law.  Should  this,  indeed,  occur, 
then  I  shall,  no  doubt,  publish  something  immediately;  but 
if  not,  then  I  will  rather  be  silent  than  obtrude  my  opinions 
on  men  against  the  wishes  of  my  country,  and  so  incur  their 
hostility."  What  exactly  Spinoza  meant  to  publish  imme 
diately  is  not  quite  certain — possibly  the  Short  Treatise, 
more  likely  the  first  book  of  his  Ethics,  or  the  whole  of  it 
which  he  may  have  hoped  to  complete  in  the  near  future. 

At  all  events  it  is  clear  that  Spinoza  was  anxious  to  enlist 
the  sympathy  of  some  of  those  who  held  the  reins  of 
government,  and  Hudde  was  just  the  man  to  help  him.  He 
probably  introduced  him  to  Coenraad  van  Beuningen,  an 
ex- Burgomaster  of  Amsterdam,  and  sometime  diplomatic 
envoy  of  the  Netherlands  at  the  Courts  of  France  and 


Sweden.  Van  Beuningen  was  friendly  towards  the  Jews,  and 
when  Louis  XIV.  remarked  to  him  that  it  was  scandalous 
that  the  Dutch  should  tolerate  the  Jews,  he  replied  :  "  Is 
not  the  fact  that  God  himself  has  not  destroyed  them  a  proof 
that  He  wants  them  to  be  tolerated  in  the  world  ?  And 
since  all  other  countries  expel  them,  and  yet  they  must 
live  somewhere,  it  cannot  be  ungodly  that  Amsterdam 
at  least  should  receive  them."  But  most  important  of  all 
was  Spinoza's  introduction  to  Jan  de  Witt,  the  Grand  Pen 
sionary  of  Holland,  of  whom  more  will  be  said  presently. 

Spinoza  was  gradually  being  drawn  into  the  turbulent 
current  of  contemporary  politics.  In  the  meantime,  how 
ever,  he  was  making  progress  with  his  Ethics,  receiving  calls 
from  old  friends  and  distinguished  strangers,  and  corre 
sponding  with  all  sorts  and  conditions. 

Oldenburg's  first  letter  to  Spinoza,  which  was  cited  above, 
was  followed  by  a  cordial  and  regular  correspondence.  The 
Royal  Society,  of  which  Oldenburg  was  the  acting  secretary, 
had  (as  Spinoza  was  duly  informed)  received  its  royal  charter 
from  Charles  II.  in  1662,  and  was  going  full  sail  on  its  course 
of  scientific  exploration.  Its  ambition  was  nothing  less 
than  (to  use  Oldenburg's  bold  phrase)  "  to  take  the  whole 
universe  to  task,"  and  its  versatile  cosmopolitan  secretary 
spared  no  pains  to  publish  its  doings  to  the  world,  and  to 
gather  all  the  latest  scientific  news  and  gossip  from  the  four 
corners  of  the  earth.  Spinoza  thus  heard  from  Oldenburg  all 
that  was  done  in  England  for  the  advancement  of  science, 
also  frequent  kind  messages  from  Robert  Boyle,  who,  how 
ever,  never  condescended  to  write  himself  to  the  "odd 
philosopher,"  though  he  sent  him  his  writings  and  invited 
his  criticisms,  and  replied  to  them  through  Oldenburg. 
Spinoza  also  sent  what  news  he  could,  especially  about 
Huygens.  Occasionally  we  hear  echoes  of  contemporary 
events  in  other  than  purely  scientific  spheres.  Oldenburg 
complains  about  the  Plague  which  was  raging  in  London 


during  1665,  and  seriously  hindered  the  work  of  the  Royal 
Society.  He  moralises  on  the  inhumanity  of  warfare, 
d  propos  of  the  war  that  was  being  waged  between  England 
and  Holland  in  the  same  year.  And  he  wants  to  know  what 
Spinoza  and  also  the  Jews  of  Amsterdam  think  of  the 
<(  rumour  which  is  on  everybody's  lips  here  that  the  Jews 
are  about  to  return  to  Palestine."  This  had  reference  to 
the  escapades  of  the  impostor  Sabbatai  Zevi,  who  began 
as  a  pseudo-Messiah  and  ended  as  an  apostate,  but  whose 
pretences,  aided  by  the  incessant  sufferings  of  the  Jews, 
deceived  for  a  time  even  the  Amsterdam  Jews,  whose  opinion 
Oldenburg  was  curious  to  know — prayers  being  offered  up 
in  the  Amsterdam  Synagogue  for  "the  King  Messiah,"  and 
some  new  prayer-books  being  dated  "  the  year  one  of  the 
Messiah  "  !  It  would  be  interesting  to  know  what  Spinoza 
thought  about  this  tragi-comedy.  But  just  at  this  point  the 
correspondence  between  Spinoza  and  Oldenburg  comes  to 
an  abrupt  end.  The  next  letter  between  them,  at  least  of 
those  which  are  still  extant,  was  written  some  ten  years  later. 
Possibly  there  were  other  letters,  or  it  may  be  that  the  Great 
Fire  of  London  in  1666  and  the  continued  war  between 
England  and  Holland  (in  which  Bremen,  Oldenburg's  native 
city,  sided  with  England)  made  further  correspondence 
impracticable  for  a  time  ;  while  in  1667  Oldenburg  was 
actually  imprisoned  in  the  Tower  of  London,  charged  with 
"dangerous  plans  and  practices,"  the  vagueness  of  which 
suggests  that  it  was  simply  his  vast  foreign  correspondence 
that  had  made  him  an  object  of  suspicion  to  a  king  who 
was  too  much  of  an  adept  at  intrigue  not  to  suspect  every 
body,  and  to  a  government  which  had  no  appreciation  of 
a  man  who  had  "taken  to  task  the  whole  universe." 
Oldenburg  was  eventually  released  ;  but  his  sad  experiences 
had  made  him  nervous  and  circumspect,  as  we  shall  see. 

Among    other   correspondence,   that   with   William   van 
Blyenbergh  is  noteworthy  at  once  as  a  study  in  cross-pur- 


poses,  when  people  argue  from  totally  different  standpoints, 
and  also  as  illustrating  the  patience  of  Spinoza.  Blyen 
bergh,  a  merchant  of  Dordrecht,  had  read  Spinoza's  version 
of  Descartes'  Principia  several  times  with  pleasure  and 
profit,  as  he  informed  Spinoza.  But  finding  certain  diffi 
culties  in  that  book  he  ventured  to  ask  Spinoza  (in  a  letter 
dated  December  1664)  for  further  explanations,  assuring 
him,  at  the  same  time,  that  his  questions  were  prompted  by 
no  other  motive  than  the  desire  for  truth,  as  he  was  not 
dependent  on  any  profession,  supporting  himself  by  honest 
merchandise,  and  simply  devoting  his  leisure  to  problems 
of  religious  philosophy.  Spinoza  thought  that  here  was  a 
man  after  his  own  heart,  and  gladly  hastened  to  deal  with 
his  difficulties.  These  difficulties  turned  chiefly  on  the 
problem  of  evil — God's  responsibility  for  the  existence  of 
evil,  and  the  apparent  reduction  of  good  and  evil  to  the 
same  moral  level,  on  the  views  of  Spinoza.  In  the  course 
of  his  lengthy  and  rather  garrulous  epistles  Blyenbergh  made 
it  quite  clear  that  he  followed  both  Reason  and  Revelation, 
but  that  whenever  these  conflicted  then  the  Scriptures  had 
precedence  over  Reason.  From  such  a  standpoint,  of 
course,  the  correspondence  was  bound  to  be  futile  from  the 
first,  but  Spinoza  dealt  most  patiently  and  gently  with 
Blyenbergh,  as  long  as  human  patience  could  endure  it, 
and  brought  the  correspondence  to  a  close  in  June  1665. 
In  due  course  Blyenbergh  requited  Spinoza's  long  suffering 
by  writing  "  refutations  "  of  his  Tractates  Theologico-Politicus 
and  his  Ethica,  for  the  deep  thoughts  of  which  he  could 
design  no  holier  origin  than  Hell  ! 

From  one  of  Spinoza's  letters,  written  in  June  1665,  it 
appears  that,  by  that  time,  his  Ethics  had  advanced  as  far  as 
the  end  of  what  is  now  the  fourth  book,  and  that  Spinoza 
expected  to  finish  it  shortly.  In  a  letter,  however,  which 
Oldenburg  wrote  to  Spinoza  in  September  of  the  same  year 
he  remarks  jestingly  :  "  I  see  that  you  are  not  so  much 


philosophising  as,  if  one  may  say  so,  theologising  ;  since  your 
thoughts  are  turning  to  angels,  prophecy,  and  miracles." 
Evidently  Spinoza  had  informed  him  that  he  was  already 
at  work  on  what  was  to  be  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus. 
And  in  his  reply  to  Oldenburg's  letter,  Spinoza  writes  (Sep 
tember  or  October  1665)  quite  explicitly  that  he  is  writing  a 
Treatise  on  the  Scriptures.  The  Ethica,  then,  must  have 
been  put  aside  suddenly,  just  as  it  was  nearing  completion, 
arid  for  the  next  four  years  or  so  we  find  Spinoza  hard  at 
work  on  his  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus.  This  certainly 
seems  strange.  What  was  the  cause  of  this  sudden  change 
in  the  direction  of  his  thoughts  ? 

In  his  letter  to  Oldenburg,  Spinoza  states  three  reasons 
which  prompted  him  to  take  up  the  new  Treatise.  In  the 
first  place,  he  wanted  to  deal  with  the  theologians,  whose 
prejudices  were  the  chief  obstacle  which  prevented  people 
from  becoming  philosophical.  Spinoza  intended  to  expose 
these  prejudices,  and  even  hoped  to  convert  some  of  the 
more  intelligent  divines.  In  the  second  place,  he  wanted  to 
refute  the  charge  of  atheism  which  was  constantly  brought 
against  him.  In  the  third  place,  he  wanted  to  defend  by 
every  means  in  his  power  freedom  of  thought  and  speech 
from  the  tyranny  and  presumption  of  the  clergy,  who  were 
doing  their  utmost  to  suppress  it.  To  appreciate  these 
reasons  adequately  it  is  necessary  to  make  a  brief  survey  of 
the  historical  circumstances  which  seemed  to  call  for  such 
a  book  as  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus,  the  need  for 
which  must  evidently  have  appeared  very  urgent  to  Spinoza 
to  have  made  him  put  aside  his  great  work,  just  as  it  was 
nearing  completion,  in  order  to  attack  these  mixed  problems 
of  theology  and  politics. 

Spinoza,  we  have  seen,  was  anxious  to  win  the  favour  of 
the  men  who  were  in  power,  so  that  he  might  publish  his 
philosophy  without  let  or  hindrance.  Such  patronage  was 
indispensable  in  those  days,  for  the  sake  of  both  the  thinker 


and  his  thoughts.  Descartes,  for  instance,  did  not  feel  safe, 
notwithstanding  his  most  ceremonious  bows  to  the  Church  ; 
and  even  in  the  Netherlands,  where  there  was  neither 
occasion  nor  inclination  to  study  the  susceptibilities  of  the 
holy  Roman  Church,  the  Cartesian  philosophy  met  with 
considerable  clerical  resistance,  and  was  repeatedly  forbidden 
to  be  taught  at  the  Universities.  Although  the  civil  authori 
ties  were  generally  inclined  to  be  liberal,  yet  the  Calvinist 
or  Reformed  Clergy  often  had  sufficient  power  to  cause  the 
confiscation  and  destruction  of  books  to  which  they  took 
exception,  and  the  authors  of  such  books  were  occasionally 
made  to  surfer  both  in  purse  and  in  person.  Spinoza's  desire 
to  win  the  favour  and  protection  of  those  in  power  was 
therefore  natural  enough.  And  he  succeeded  almost  better 
than  he  could  have  expected.  For  he  enlisted  the  sympathy 
of  no  less  a  personage  than  the  Grand  Pensionary  himself — 
Jan  de  Witt.  His  very  success,  however,  in  a  way  defeated  his 
primary  object,  by  diverting  his  attention  from  purely  philo 
sophical  problems.  How  this  happened  will  soon  be  evident. 
Reference  has  already  been  made  to  the  struggle  between 
the  Remonstrants  and  the  contra-Remonstrants,  and  the 
tragic  fate  of  the  Remonstrant  leader,  Barneveldt,  in  1619. 
That  conflict  was  by  no  means  a  purely  religious  conflict. 
Church  and  State,  Religion  and  Politics,  if  not  quite  so  in 
timately  united  as  elsewhere,  were  anything  but  completely 
divorced  even  in  the  Netherlands.  Politically  that  conflict 
was  one  between  the  principle  of  autonomy  of  each  of  the 
United  Provinces,  and  especially  of  Holland,  and  the  prin 
ciple  of  the  predominance  of  the  House  of  Orange.  In 
that  early  conflict,  Barneveldt  stood  for  the  former  principle, 
Maurice,  the  Stadtholder  (or  so-called  "  Lieutenant,"  but 
virtual  or  would-be  monarch),  for  the  latter.  Though 
Barneveldt  came  to  an  end  in  1619,  the  conflict  did 
not  ;  it  only  required  a  suitable  opportunity  tc  break 
out  afresh.  In  1650,  the  Stadtholder  y  William  II.,  chagrined 


because  of  the  independent  attitude  of  Amsterdam,  arrested 
its  five  chief  burghers,  among  them  Jacob  de  Witt.  They 
were  released  soon  afterwards  and  deprived  of  their  office. 
But  their  bitter  resentment  may  be  gauged  by  the  fact  that, 
on  the  death  of  William  II.,  in  1651,  de  Witt  had  a  medal 
struck  representing  William  II.  lying  dead  on  the  ground, 
with  the  motto,  Liberty  for  ever  !  The  years  which  followed 
were  years  of  great  anxiety  for  the  Netherlands.  Cromwell, 
prompted  by  the  Utopian  idea  of  a  European  Protestant 
Coalition,  proposed  to  the  States-General  of  the  Netherlands 
that  they  should  suffer  themselves  to  be  absorbed  by  Eng 
land.  When  this  was  declined,  he  brought  the  "  Naviga 
tion  Act "  into  operation  with  a  view  to  crippling  the  Dutch 
shipping  trade.  War  followed.  But  negotiations  were 
soon  reopened,  and  peace  was  concluded  in  1654.  It  was 
during  these  troubles  that  Jan  de  Witt,  the  brilliant  son  of 
Jacob  de  Witt,  got  and  used  his  opportunity.  In  1653  he 
had  been  elected  Grand  Pensionary  of  Holland,  and  it  was 
largely  through  his  skill  that  the  peace  negotiations  with 
England  came  to  a  successful  issue  in  the  following  year. 
Unfortunately  for  de  Witt,  Cromwell,  in  his  anxiety  to  keep 
Charles  II.  at  a  safe  distance,  stipulated  as  one  of  the  con 
ditions  of  peace  that  the  young  Prince  of  Orange  (son  of 
William  II.,  and  nephew  of  Charles  II.)  should  be  made  in 
eligible  for  the  posts  of  Stadtholder  and  Captain-General  of 
the  Netherlands  forces.  And,  knowing  that  most  of  the 
United  Provinces  would  strongly  resent  the  very  sugges 
tion  of  such  a  condition,  de  Witt  had  to  persuade  the 
Hollanders  to  bind  themselves  at  least  to  such  a  secret 
"  Act  of  Seclusion."  This,  of  course,  was  bound  to  inten 
sify  the  opposition  between  the  de  Witts  and  the  House  of 
Orange,  and  to  lead  to  a  fresh  conflict  between  the  Repub 
lican  and  the  Monarchist  parties  in  the  Netherlands.  The 
House  of  Orange,  largely  owing  to  its  early  alliance  (in 
the  days  of  Barneveldt)  with  the  orthodox  majority,  eventu- 


ally  realised  their  monarchical  ambitions,  and  the  de  Witts, 
whose  broad  tolerance  and  republican  zeal  made  them  more 
like  William  the  Silent  than  were  his  own  descendants,  were 
destined  to  meet  with  a  tragic  end.     But  all  that  was  still  to 
come.     At  the  time  with  which  we  are  at  present  concerned 
Jan  de  Witt  was  still  the  Grand  Pensionary  of  Holland,  and 
virtually  the  head  of  the  United  Provinces.     Still,  he  had 
his  enemies.     His  very  tolerance  gained  for  him  the  secret 
opposition  of    the  Reformed  Clergy,   who  were   bent   on 
Calvinising  everybody  and  everything.      And  the  Orange 
party  were  assiduous  in  cultivating  the  friendship  of   the 
Calvinists.     The  one  radical  safeguard  for  the  maintenance 
of  the  Republic,  as  de  Witt  must  have  seen,  lay  in  widen 
ing   the   outlook   of  its   citizens,  so  that  politics  might  be 
purged  of  religious   animosities,  and  people  might  live  at 
peace  with  each  other,  and  co-operate  in  all  national  enter 
prises,   without  regard  to  their  private   views  on   matters 
which  did  not  affect   their  conduct  as  citizens.     In   1665, 
during  the  wars  with  England  and  Sweden,  when  the  Dutch 
were  so  hard  pressed  that  they  had  to  employ  French  troops, 
the  voice  of  discontent  made  itself  heard  in  various  quarters, 
and    Calvinist   prophets    made   capital  out  of    these   tem 
porary  trials    by  proclaiming  them  to   be  visitations    sent 
from    heaven   in   punishment    of   the   godlessness   of    the 
country's  rulers,  and  clamoured  that  the  young  Prince  of 
Orange   should  be  set  in  supreme  authority  to  make  the 
country  more  godly.     "  Moses  and  Aaron,  the  Sword  and 
the  Word,"  they  cried,  must  always  go  hand  in  hand. 

Already  before  this,  Jan  de  Witt  seems  to  have  urged  or 
encouraged  various  writers,  who  shared  his  views,  to  use 
their  pen  in  support  of  his  policy  of  tolerance,  in  short,  in 
support  of  the  separation  between  Church  and  State.  One 
such  book  was  written  by  his  own  nephew  and  namesake, 
others  were  written  by  Dr.  Lodewijk  Meyer  and  other 
members  of  the  Spinoza  circle,  and  Jan  de  Witt  himself  is 


said  to  have  written  or  contributed  some  chapters  to  such  a 
political  pamphlet.  It  seems  natural  enough, therefore,  that  at 
such  a  critical  period  Spinoza,  the  "  good  republican,"  should 
layaside  his  more  speculative  £//MOZ  in  order  to  playhis  part  in 
the  warfare  against bigotryand  intolerance.  He  would  expose 
the  prejudices,  presumption,  and  the  lust  for  power  of  the 
clerical  party.  But  it  was  idle  simply  to  add  one  more  poli 
tical  pamphlet  to  the  multitude  in  which  the  principle  of 
freedom  of  thought  and  speech  had  already  been  ably  de 
fended  on  general  philosophical  and  humanitarian  grounds. 
The  zealots  were  deaf  and  blind  to  such  arguments.  To  them 
philosophy  meant  heresy,  and  humanism  meant  atheism. 
The  citadel  of  the  clerics  was  the  Bible.  From  it  they 
drew  all  their  arguments  with  which  they  so  often 
silenced  people,  even  when  they  failed  to  convince  them. 
Spinoza  resolved  to  turn  his  attention  to  the  citadel  itself, 
leaving  mere  skirmishes  to  others.  He  would  show  that  the 
very  Bible  on  which  these  presumptuous  theologians  based 
their  whole  case  did  not  bear  them  out  at  all,  that  they  were 
simply  ignorant  of  these  very  Scriptures,  and  that  they  used 
religion  and  the  Bible  merely  as  a  cloak  for  their  own  im 
pudent  lust  for  power  over  others.  Such  a  work  required 
vast  and  varied  learning  and  insight — but  Spinoza  (and  at 
that  time  perhaps  he  alone)  had  them  in  an  eminent  degree. 
Andit  required  time — perhaps  more  than  Spinoza  anticipated. 
But  Spinoza  grudged  neither  time  nor  effort,  and  for  the  next 
four  years  he  was  deeply  engrossed  in  theological  and  political 
studies,  which  resulted  in  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus. 
Interfused  with  this  wider,  grander  motive  there  was  yet 
another,  a  private  or  personal  motive.  He  desired  to  show 
(as  he  wrote  to  Oldenburg  in  the  autumn  of  1665)  that  he  was 
not  an  atheist,  as  was  commonly  supposed.  By  the  time 
Spinoza  finished  his  treatise  he  had  probably  forgotten  all 
about  this  private  aim.  If  he  was  really  still  anxious  to 
convert  public  opinion  about  himself,  he  could  scarcely  hope 


to  do  so  by  publishing  his  treatise  anonymously,  as  he  did 
in  1670.  The  fact  is  that  although  his  personal  experiences 
added  zest  to  his  enterprise  in  1665,  they  gradually  sank 
into  the  background  as  he  proceeded  with  his  work.  But  in 
any  case  it  is  interesting  to  ask  what  these  personal  expe 
riences  were.  One  naturally  thinks,  at  first,  of  his  excom 
munication  in  1656.  But  that  was  an  old  story  already,  and 
Spinoza  was  at  that  time  hardly  concerned  much,  if  at  all, 
about  the  good  opinion  of  the  Amsterdam  Jews.  It  will  be 
better  to  turn  to  Voorburg,  and  to  what  happened  there  in 
1665,  for  light  on  this  subject.  It  was  not  an  important 
event  to  which  we  are  referring,  but  it  is  interesting  as  an 
incident  in  Spinoza's  life,  and  as  typical  of  the  religious 
temper  of  the  time.  The  pastorate  of  the  Voorburg  Church 
happened  to  be  vacant  in  that  year.  There  were  two  can 
didates  in  the  field,  one  liberal,  the  other  orthodox. 
Spinoza's  landlord  and  others  petitioned  the  authorities  on 
behalf  of  the  more  liberal  candidate.  Thereupon  the  ortho 
dox  party  sent  a  counter-petition  accusing  the  Tydemann 
party  of  sheer  wickedness,  and  stating  at  the  same  time  that 
the  Tydemann  petition  had  been  "  concocted  by  a  certain 
Spinoza,  an  Amsterdam  Jew  by  birth,  who  is  an  atheist, 
scoffs  at  all  religion,  and  is  inflicting  harm  on  the  Republic, 
as  many  learned  persons  and  ministers  can  attest."  Evidently 
Spinoza  had  an  evil  repute  among  the  champions  of  ortho 
doxy  in  the  village,  though  it  is  pleasant  to  think  that  the 
more  liberal  section  showed  sufficient  faith  in  him  to  enlist 
his  sympathy  and  help  even  in  their  religious  concerns. 

In  the  course  of  the  same  year  Spinoza  had  a  distinguished 
visitor  in  the  person  of  Field-Marshal  Charles  de  St.  Denis, 
Seigneur  de  St.  Evremont,  who  has  left  us  a  pleasant  record 
of  his  impression.  "  Spinoza  [he  wrote]  was  of  medium 
height  and  had  pleasant  features.  His  knowledge,  his 
modesty,  and  his  unselfishness  made  all  the  intellectual 
people  in  the  Hague  esteem  him  and  seek  his  acquaintance." 


Spinoza  remained  in  Voorburg  till  1670,  but  not  many 
details  have  reached  us  about  him  even  during  this  period. 
He  kept  in  touch  with  his  Amsterdam  friends,  to  whom  he 
sent  his  manuscript  of  the  Ethics  for  reading  and  discussion 
at  their  philosophical  society's  gatherings.  Some  of  them, 
notably  Simon  de  Vries,  also  visited  him  at  Voorburg.  That 
Spinoza's  health  was  not  robust  is  evident  from  his  letter  to 
one  of  his  medical  friends  at  Amsterdam  (A.  Koerbagh),  to 
whom  he  incidentally  mentions  that  he  had  been  suffering 
repeatedly  from  tertian  ague,  and  asks  him  for  some  con 
serve  of  roses.  It  was  about  this  time  apparently  that  Simon 
de  Vries  wanted  Spinoza  to  accept  from  him  a  gift  of  two 
thousand  florins.  Simon  de  Vries  died  in  1667,  and  his 
death  must  have  been  felt  very  deeply  by  Spinoza.  The 
following  year,  1668,  brought  bad  news  about  another  of 
his  friends.  Adriaan  Koerbagh,  whom  Spinoza  got  to  know 
at  Rijnsburg,  had  studied  law  and  medicine  at  Leyden, 
and  was  possessed  of  considerable  mental  gifts.  Spinoza 
liked  him,  and  encouraged  him  in  the  study  of  philosophy, 
and  in  the  above-mentioned  letter  he  actually  offered  to 
send  him  the  manuscript  of  the  Ethics.  But,  though  clever, 
Koerbagh  seems  to  have  had  little  or  no  character.  At  all 
events,  early  in  1668  he  published  two  works,  entitled  A 
Garden  of  Flowers,  and  Light  in  Dark  Places,  in  which  he 
attacked  medicine,  morals,  and  religion  in  a  most  wanton 
and  shameless  manner.  He  was  promptly  arrested,  and 
though  he  expressed  regret  and  recanted,  yet  (as  this  was 
not  his  first  offence)  he  was  fined  6000  florins  and  con 
demned  to  ten  years'  imprisonment  with  hard  labour,  to  be 
followed  by  exile.  It  should  be  mentioned  to  his  honour  that 
he  entirely  exonerated  his  brother,  who  had  also  been  arrested; 
and  when  Spinoza's  name  was  mentioned  in  the  course  of 
the  trial  he  took  the  entire  responsibility  upon  himself, 
emphatically  denying  that  Spinoza  or  any  one  else  was  in 
any  way  responsible  for  what  he  had  written.  However 


little  there  may  be  to  say  in  Koerbagh's  favour,  yet 
the  punishment  was  certainly  savage.  And  one  of  the 
officers  of  the  court  had  actually  urged  something  much 
more  severe,  namely,  that  his  fortune  should  be  confiscated, 
his  right  thumb  cut  off,  his  tongue  bored  through  with  a 
red-hot  iron,  and  that  he  should  be  imprisoned  for  thirty 
years !  Koerbagh  died  in  prison  in  the  following  year. 
The  affair  must  have  made  a  deep  impression  on  Spinoza, 
who  had  expected  much  from  him,  and  some  of  whose 
views  Koerbagh  had  certainly  assimilated  and  spread — 
though  Spinoza  was  the  last  man  to  condone  immorality. 

In  the  meantime  Spinoza  had  been  busy  with  his  Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus,  and  it  was  published  in  1670.  He 
had  now  been  seven  years  at  Voorburg,  and  he  may  have 
needed  a  change,  or  his  friends  at  the  Hague  may  have 
urged  him  to  come  and  live  among  them.  At  all  events 
Spinoza  left  the  village,  and  went  to  live  in  the  Hague. 

§8.  SPINOZA'S  STAY  IN  THE  HAGUE— 1670-1677 

Spinoza's  first  lodgings  in  the  Hague  were  situated  on 
the  Stille  Veerkade,  a  quiet  wharf  not  far  from  the  Great 
Church  of  St.  James.  He  lodged  and  boarded  with  a 
widow  of  the  name  of  Van  Velen.  A  single  room  on  the 
second  floor  served  him  as  bedroom,  workroom,  and  study, 
all  in  one.  Curiously  enough,  it  was  in  that  same  room 
that  Colerus  subsequently  wrote  one  of  the  earliest  bio 
graphies  of  Spinoza.  The  house  has  been  identified  (it 
bears  the  number  32)  but  it  has,  no  doubt,  been  very  much 
altered  since  those  days  ;  and  the  Stille  Veerkade  is  no  longer 
a  wharf,  but  an  ordinary  street,  the  waterway  having  been 
filled  up  with  earth  long  since. 

Probably  one  of  the  attractions  which  the   Hague  had 


for  Spinoza  was  that  it  brought  him  into  closer  touch  with 
Jan  de  Witt.  That  he  had  known  him  for  some  time  already 
seems  certain.  The  political  views  of  the  Tractatus  Theo- 
logico-Politicus  are  very  like  those  of  the  Grand  Pensionary, 
and  it  was  under  his  protection  that  this  treatise  had  been 
published.  When  the  opportunity  arose,  de  Witt's  enemies 
spoke  quite  openly  of  the  treatise  as  a  wicked  instrument 
"forged  in  hell  by  a  renegade  Jew  and  the  devil,  and  issued 
with  the  knowledge  of  Mr.  Jan  de  Witt."  It  was  probably 
also  during  his  stay  in  Voorburg,  and  while  giving  his  time 
and  energy  to  the  composition  of  the  Tractatus  Theologico- 
Politicus,  that  Spinoza  accepted  from  de  Witt  an  annual 
pension  of  200  florins,  which  was  paid  even  after  de 
Witt's  death.  Once  in  the  Hague,  Spinoza  must  have  re 
ceived  many  a  visit  from  the  Grand  Pensionary  ;  and  local 
gossip,  indeed,  still  refers  to  such  private  visits  from  him, 
and  his  usual  entrance  by  the  garden  door  at  the  back  of 
the  house. 

The  need  of  protection  from  high  quarters  showed  itself 
soon  enough.  Already  in  the  June  following  the  publica 
tion  of  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus,  the  Church  Council 
of  Amsterdam  had  condemned  it,  and  the  condemnation  of 
other  Church  Councils  followed  in  rapid  succession.  The 
book  had  made  a  great  stir  in  the  learned  world,  and  ran 
through  five  editions  within  a  comparatively  short  time. 
But  it  had  stirred  a  hornei's  nest,  and,  for  many  years  to 
come,  theologians  and  other  respectable  folks  showed  their 
orthodoxy  by  incessant  denunciations  of  that  godless 
treatise.  The  civil  authorities  were  repeatedly  approached 
and  worried  to  exercise  the  arm  of  the  law.  But  so  long  as 
de  Witt  was  in  power  the  importunate  zealots  were  success 
fully  resisted.  Even  after  de  Witt's  death  there  were  men, 
like  Burgomaster  Hudde,  who  could,  for  a  time,  defeat  the 
efforts  of  the  clerics.  But  when  William  III.  found  it 
desirable  to  ingratiate  himself  with  the  clergy  and  the  mob, 


and  to  play  to  the  gallery  for  a  crown,  the  Tractatus  Theo- 
logico-Politicus  was  strictly  prohibited  (1674),  and  other 
measures  were  contemplated  also  against  the  known  author 
of  the  anonymous  treatise. 

In  May  1671  Spinoza  found  it  necessary  to  change  his 
lodgings.  He  was  in  receipt  of  300  florins  a  year  from  the 
brother  of  Simon  de  Vries,  and  200  florins  a  year  from  de 
Witt,  that  is,  about  ^£40  a  year,  besides  what  little  he  may 
have  been  still  earning  by  making  lenses.  He  found  that 
he  could  not  afford  to  continue  to  pay  Mrs.  Van  Velen's 
charges  for  board  and  lodging,  and  therefore  looked  out  for 
rooms  where  he  might  provide  his  own  food,  and  econo 
mise  that  way.  He  accordingly  moved  into  the  adjoining 
Paviljoensgmgt,  where  he  rented  two  small  rooms  in  the 
house  of  a  painter,  Hendrik  van  der  Spyck.  This  house 
has  also  been  identified,  and  may  now  be  recognised  by  the 
tablet  affixed  to  the  front  wall  just  below  the  window  on 
the  second  story,  where  Spinoza's  rooms  were.  Here  also 
the  "gragt,"  or  waterway,  has  long  since  made  room  for  an 
ordinary  road.  Spinoza  lived  with  the  Van  der  Spycks  till 
the  end  of  his  life. 

When  Spinoza  settled  in  the  Hague,  after  the  publication 
of  his  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus,  he  turned  his  attention 
once  more  to  his  neglected  Ethics,  which  had  already  seemed 
to  be  near  completion  in  1665.  The  comparatively  long 
interval  which  had  elapsed  since  he  had  put  it  aside  in  order 
to  take  up  the  more  urgent  work  had  probably  brought 
with  it  the  need  or  the  desire  for  not  inconsiderable  modi 
fications  or  elaborations  of  details,  and  the  Ethics  only 
attained  to  its  final  form  in  1675.  In  the  meantime,  how 
ever,  Spinoza  must  have  devoted  his  attention  also  to  other 
things  besides  the  Ethics.  While  at  work  on  his  Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus  he  had  again  taken  up  his  Hebrew  and 
Biblical  studies,  and  had  mastered  a  mass  of  political  litera 
ture.  In  that  treatise  he  was  chiefly  concerned  with  the 


final  results  of  these  studies  and  reflections,  and  the  different 
departments  of  thought  were  necessarily  all  intermingled. 
It  would  naturally  occur  to  him,  or  some  of  his  friends 
would  suggest  to  him,  that  it  was  desirable  to  work  out  each 
of  these  subjects  independently,  and  more  fully  than  was 
possible  in  the  above  treatise.  Spinoza,  while  completing 
and  perfecting  his  Ethics,  would  accordingly  also  be  pre 
paring  for  a  scientific  treatise  on  the  Hebrew  language,  for 
a  translation  of  the  Old  Testament  based  on  such  an  exposi 
tion  of  the  character  of  Hebrew,  and,  lastly,  for  a  separate 
treatise  on  political  theories.  By  way  of  a  change  from 
theology  and  politics  he  would  also  turn  again  sometimes 
to  mathematics  and  physical  science,  with  a  view  to  supple 
menting  his  Ethics,  some  day,  by  a  treatise  on  natural  philo 
sophy.  That  Spinoza  wished  to  write  such  a  work  on  natural 
philosophy,  and  also  to  give  a  new  exposition  of  the  prin 
ciples  of  algebra,  we  know ;  but  he  did  not  live  to  realise 
these  wishes.  His  other  intentions  fared  rather  better. 
Spinoza  did  begin  a  Hebrew  Grammar,  a  Dutch  translation 
of  the  Bible,  and  a  Political  Treatise.  But  he  seems  to  have 
been  dissatisfied  with  his  translation,  and  destroyed  what  he 
had  done.  The  Hebrew  Grammar  remained  unfinished,  so 
did  the  Political  Treatise,  which,  however,  was  much  nearer 
completion.  He  has  also  left  an  essay  On  the  Rainbow  and 
another  On  the  Calculation  of  Chances.  Very  likely  he  did 
not  begin  to  write  all  or  any  of  these  while  he  was  still 
occupied  with  his  Ethics.  But  he  must  have  been  preparing 
for  them,  and  we  are  told  that  at  times  he  was  so  hard  at 
work  that  he  did  not  leave  his  room  for  days,  nor  go  out  of 
the  house  for  three  months  at  a  stretch. 

In  the  meantime  black  clouds  were  gathering  in  the  poli 
tical  atmosphere,  and  a  storm  was  preparing  to  burst  upon 
the  heads  of  the  de  Witts  and  their  friends. 

Reference  has  already  been  made  to  the  war  between 
England  and  Holland  in  1665.  That  war  was  concluded  in 


1667,  when  England  was  induced  to  come  to  terms  partly 
by  de  Ruyter's  daring  and  successful  expedition  to  Chatham 
(when  the  sound  of  Dutch  guns  was  heard  in  London),  but 
even  more  so  by  the  intervention  of  Louis  XIV.,  who  took 
sides  with  the  Netherlands.  Soon  afterwards,  however, 
Louis  XIV.  revived  his  claims  to  the  Spanish  Netherlands 
(Belgium)  and  led  an  army  there.  The  Dutch  grew  alarmed. 
It  was  good  to  have  Louis  XIV.  for  a  friend,  but  it  was 
dangerous  to  have  him  for  a  neighbour.  Jan  de  Witt 
accordingly  sought  for  a  means  of  checking  French  pre 
tensions,  and  succeeded  in  doing  so  by  means  of  the  Triple 
Alliance  between  the  Netherlands,  England  and  Sweden. 
This  was  in  1668.  Louis  XIV.  meant  to  be  revenged  on 
de  Witt.  First  he  started  a  tariff  war  with  the  Netherlands, 
next  he  bribed  Charles  II.  (by  the  Secret  Treaty  of  Dover, 
1671),  and,  in  1672,  England  and  France  declared  war 
against  the  Netherlands,  and  a  French  army  of  120,000  men 
invaded  the  totally  unprepared  United  Provinces.  For 
some  time  past  there  had  been  a  growing  conspiracy  in 
favour  of  the  young  Prince  of  Orange  and  against  Jan  de 
Witt,  who  had  done  his  utmost  to  keep  him  from  power, 
especially  by  engineering  the  "  Perpetual  Edict "  of  1667, 
which  decreed  that  no  Captain-General  or  Admiral-General 
of  the  United  Provinces  could  at  the  same  time  be  Stadt- 
holder  of  a  province.  The  conspiracy  now  came  to  a 
sudden  head.  There  was  a  cry  for  the  Prince  of  Orange  to 
take  the  field  and  deliver  the  country  as  his  father  had 
done.  The  "  Perpetual  Edict  "  was  swept  aside,  and  its 
author  was  not  forgotten  on  the  day  of  reckoning.  With 
the  country  unprepared,  and  the  enemy  carrying  all  before 
them,  the  populace  was  easily  stirred  to  uncontrollable  fury, 
which  had  to  find  vent  on  a  scapegoat.  After  vain  attempts 
to  procure  their  judicial  murder,  the  mob  broke  into  the 
prison,  at  the  Hague,  while  Jan  de  Witt  was  visiting  his 
brother  Cornelis  there,  and  murdered  the  two  brothers  in 


the  most  brutal  fashion.  This  happened  on  the  2oth  of 
August  1672.  More  than  twenty  years  of  the  most  devoted 
and  able  service  to  the  Republic  was  forgotten  in  the 
moment  of  wrath,  and  the  Prince  of  Orange,  William  III. 
(the  future  King  of  England),  was  not  altogether  guiltless  of 
the  crime. 

When  Spinoza  heard  of  the  horrible  tragedy  he  was  quite 
beside  himself.  His  usual  philosophic  calm  entirely  deserted 
him.  He  burst  into  tears,  and,  distracted  with  grief  and 
anger,  he  wrote  on  a  placard  his  utter  abhorrence  of  "the 
very  lowest  of  barbarians  "  who  had  committed  the  iniquitous 
murder.  He  wanted  to  go  out  and  post  his  denunciation 
near  the  scene  of  the  crime.  Fortunately,  Van  der  Spyck 
was  more  discreet.  He  locked  the  door,  so  that  Spinoza 
could  not  get  out  to  share  the  fate  of  the  de  Witts. 

Some  time  after  these  terrible  events  the  heirs  of  Jan  de 
Witt  showed  some  hesitation  about  continuing  Spinoza's 
pension.  Some  of  the  philosopher's  friends,  when  they 
heard  of  it,  urged  him  to  enforce  his  legal  claims  on  the 
strength  of  the  written  promise  which  he  possessed.  But 
Spinoza  simply  returned  that  document  to  de  Witt's  heirs, 
without  any  comment.  Impressed  by  his  conduct,  they 
continued  his  pension  without  any  more  ado. 

The  war  between  France  and  Holland  proved  fatal  to  yet 
another  friend  of  Spinoza.  His  old  teacher,  Van  den  Enden, 
had  been  compelled  to  leave  Amsterdam  some  years  before 
these  events.  For  a  time  he  stayed  in  Antwerp,  and  then 
settled  in  Paris.  Here  his  desire  to  help  his  own  country  at 
that  critical  period  led  him  to  join  in  a  conspiracy  to  betray 
Quillebceuf  to  the  Dutch,  and  to  raise  a  rebellion  in  Nor 
mandy.  All  this  would,  of  course,  have  greatly  helped  the 
Netherlands  in  their  struggle  with  Louis  XIV.  But  the 
conspiracy  was  discovered,  and  Van  den  Enden  was  be 
headed  in  front  of  the  Bastille  in  November  1674.  Such 
was  the  tragic  end  of  the  man  who  had  befriended  Spinoza 


in  the  early  days  of  his  struggle,  and  who  had  contributed 
not  a  little  towards  the  early  development  of  his  scientific 

The  war  with  France  had  yet  further  consequences  in 
store  for  Spinoza.  In  1673  the  French  army  under  Prince 
Conde  was  encamping  at  Utrecht,  and  among  the  officers 
there  was  a  Colonel  Stoupe,  who  was  in  charge  of  a  Swiss 
regiment.  Stoupe  was  an  ex-parson,  well  read,  but  an 
adventurer.  Conde  was  a  man  of  liberal  views,  and  inte 
rested  in  art,  science,  and  philosophy.  And  during  their 
enforced  idleness  at  Utrecht,  Stoupe  suggested  that  as 
Spinoza  (already  famous  as  the  author  of  the  geometric 
version  of  Descartes'  Principia,  and  much  more  so  as  the 
author  of  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus)  lived  quite  near, 
at  the  Hague,  it  would  be  interesting  to  get  to  know  him. 
Conde  accordingly  sent,  through  Stoupe,  an  invitation  to 
Spinoza  to  visit  him  at  Utrecht.  What  induced  Stoupe 
to  seek  the  acquaintance  of  Spinoza  seems  fairly  clear. 
Though  a  Calvinist,  and  at  one  time  a  minister  of  his  reli 
gion,  he  had  brought  a  regiment  of  Swiss  soldiers  to  the 
service  of  Catholic  France  against  the  Calvinist  Netherlands. 
The  fact  is  that  he  was  just  an  unscrupulous  adventurer  ; 
at  heart  (as  Bishop  Burnet  has  said  of  him)  he  was  neither 
a  Protestant  nor  a  Christian,  but  a  man  of  intrigue  and  of 
no  virtue.  But  he  was  anxious  to  keep  up  appearances, 
and  when  a  countryman  of  his  took  him  severely  to  task  for 
helping  the  Catholics  against  his  own  fellow-Calvinists,  he 
tried  to  defend  himself  by  suggesting  that  the  majority  of 
the  Dutch  were  not  Calvinists  at  all,  but  heretics  of  the 
blackest  dye.  In  a  pamphlet  which  he  published  about 
September  1673,  he  refers  to  Spinoza  as  a  bad  Jew  and  worse 
Christian,  who  had  written  a  treatise  with  the  aim  of  de 
stroying  all  religion  and  establishing  atheism.  This  book 
(he  added)  was,  nevertheless,  openly  sold  and  widely  read, 
and  no  Dutchman  has  taken  the  trouble  to  refute  it,  while 


its  author  was,  in  fact,  much  sought  after  by  learned  men 
and  fashionable  ladies,  and  so  on.  The  object  of  the  invi 
tation  to  Spinoza,  so  far  as  Stoupe  was  concerned,  was 
therefore  simply  to  get  what  information  he  could  that 
might  be  turned  to  account  for  his  self-defence.  And  such 
were  the  terms  in  which  he  described  Spinoza  apparently 
at  the  very  time  when  he  professed  the  greatest  regard  for 
him ! 

Spinoza,  on  the  other  hand,  a  dreamer  by  birth,  probably 
saw  in  this  invitation  from  Prince  Conde  a  possible  opening 
for  peace  negotiations,  and  was  anxious  to  do  his  duty.  He 
seems  to  have  consulted  some  people  in  authority,  and 
whatever  they  may  have  thought  about  it  privately,  they 
could  certainly  see  no  harm  in  Spinoza's  errand.  And  so, 
armed  with  the  necessary  safe-conducts,  Spinoza  made  his 
way  to  Utrecht  in  May  1673.  He  was  well  received  by 
Count  Luxemburg,  on  behalf  of  Prince  Conde,  who  had  in 
the  meantime  been  called  away,  and  he  was  invited  to  stay 
there  and  await  the  Prince's  return.  Spinoza's  intercourse 
with  the  Count,  with  Stoupe  and  others  there,  seems  to 
have  been  of  the  friendliest  kind,  and  it  is  known  that  he 
made  a  very  good  impression.  But  when,  after  waiting 
several  weeks,  the  news  arrived  that  Conde  could  not  return, 
Spinoza  took  his  departure.  He  had  been  offered  a  pension 
if  he  would  dedicate  a  book  to  Louis  XIV. ;  but  Spinoza 
was  not  Stoupe — he  was  not  ready  to  serve  any  master 
for  hire.  He  declined  the  request,  and  returned  to  the 

The  people  at  the  Hague  had,  in  the  meantime,  got  wind 
of  Spinoza's  visit  to  the  enemy's  camp.  With  mob  charity 
they  could  give  but  one  meaning  to  this — Spinoza  was  a 
spy.  When,  therefore,  he  arrived  at  the  Hague,  scowls  and 
stones  greeted  his  return,  and  Van  der  Spyck  was  afraid  that 
the  mob  would  break  into  the  house.  Spinoza,  however, 
begged  him  not  to  be  afraid.  "  I  am  innocent,"  he  said, 


"and  some  of  our  leading  statesmen  know  why  I  went  to 
Utrecht.  As  soon  as  the  people  make  any  noise,  I  shall  go 
out  to  them,  even  if  they  should  do  to  me  what  they  did  to 
the  good  de  Witts.  I  am  a  good  Republican,  and  my  desire 
is  the  good  of  the  Republic."  Apparently  Spinoza's  frank 
and  fearless  bearing  in  the  moment  of  danger  reassured  the 
suspicious  people,  and  he  escaped  without  harm. 

The  invitation  from  Prince  Conde  was  not  the  only 
compliment  paid  to  Spinoza  that  year.  A  more  important 
invitation  had  reached  him  in  February.  It  came  from  the 
Elector  Palatine,  Karl  Ludwig,  the  brother  of  the  Princess 
Elizabeth,  who  had  befriended  Descartes.  The  Elector 
offered  him  the  Professorship  of  Philosophy  at  the 
University  of  Heidelberg.  The  invitation  certainly  had 
considerable  attractions,  and  Spinoza  considered  it  for 
about  six  weeks.  But,  in  the  first  place,  he  could  not  make 
up  his  mind  to  become  a  public  teacher  after  all  these  years 
of  habitual  quietude  and  retirement.  In  the  second  place, 
he  had  misgivings  about  the  statement  made  in  the 
invitation  concerning  the  Prince's  confidence  that  Spinoza 
would  not  misuse  his  freedom  in  philosophical  teaching  to 
disturb  the  public  religion.  "  I  do  not  know  [Spinoza 
wrote]  the  limits  within  which  the  freedom  of  my  philo 
sophical  teaching  would  be  confined,  if  I  am  to  avoid  all 
appearance  of  disturbing  the  publicly  established  religion. 
Religious  quarrels  do  not  arise  so  much  from  ardent  zeal 
for  religion  as  from  men's  various  dispositions,  and  the  love 
of  contradiction  which  makes  them  habitually  distort  and 
condemn  everything.  ...  I  have  experienced  these  things 
in  my  private  and  secluded  life,  how  much  more  should  I 
have  to  fear  them  after  my  promotion  to  this  post  of  honour." 
So  he  acknowledged  gracefully  the  Prince's  liberality  in 
offering  him  the  Professorship,  and  declined  it  with  thanks. 
There  can  be  no  doubt  that  it  was  the  wisest  course,  for, 
besides  the  reasons  stated  by  Spinoza  himself,  it  must  be 



remembered  that  he  could  scarcely  tear  himself  away  from 
his  numerous  friends  in  Holland,  and  that  the  course  of 
events  in  his  fatherland  (as  his  political  writings  show) 
touched  him  too  closely  to  permit  of  his  going  abroad  in 
that  critical  period.  Moreover,  though  he  may  not  have 
anticipated  quite  such  an  early  end  as  befell  him  (he  died 
four  years  afterwards),  yet  with  his  state  of  consumption  he 
could  scarcely  expect  to  grow  old. 

That    Spinoza    had   a    large    circle   of    friends    and   ac 
quaintances  there  can  be  no  doubt,  though  the  ascendency 
of  the  orthodox  and  the  evil  repute  of  his  views  compelled 
people,  from   sheer   prudence,  to   keep   quiet   about  their 
knowledge  and  admiration  of  him.  One  of  his  most  devoted 
friends  at  the   Hague  was  a  Dr.   J.   M.   Lucas,  a  medical 
practitioner,   who    subsequently    wrote    the  oldest   extant 
biography    of    Spinoza,    which    breathes    the   most   ardent 
attachment  to   the  philosopher.     Another   of  his   medical 
friends  was  Dr.  G.  H.  Schuller,  who  practised  medicine  at 
Amsterdam,  but  also  devoted  much  time  to  alchemy  and 
philosophy.     It   was    Schuller  who   brought   Spinoza  into 
contact  with  one  of  the   most  promising  of  the  younger 
scientists,    Tschirnhaus,    and,    through  him,  also  with  the 
most  eminent  philosopher  of  the  next  generation — Leibniz. 
Tschirnhaus  was  a  young  German  Count  who  had  studied 
at  Leyden.     In  1674  he  made  the  acquaintance  of  Schuller 
at  Amsterdam.  Having  studied  Descartes,  he  was  interested 
to  hear  all  about  Spinoza,  with  whom  he  soon  started  a  cor 
respondence,  and  also  came  into  personal  contact  towards 
the  end  of  the  same  year.     In  the  following  summer,  1675, 
he  visited    London,  where  he  met  Oldenburg  and  Boyle. 
He  also  visited  Paris  in  the  same  year,  and,  on  the  advice 
of  Spinoza,  called  on  Christian  Huygens,  who  had  settled  in 
Paris  since  1667,  and  (it  is  interesting  to  compare)  had 
continued  to  enjoy  the  profitable  patronage  of  Louis  XIV. 
even  during   the  years   of  disaster    which   that  King  had 


inflicted  on  the  Netherlands,  while  Spinoza  had  declined 
even  to  dedicate  a  book  to  him  for  the  sake  of  a  pension. 
The  still  interesting  correspondence  between  Spinoza  and 
Tschirnhaus  lasted  about  two  years.  In  1683  Tschirnhaus 
published  his  De  Medicina  Mentis,  dealing  with  the  same 
problem  as  Spinoza's  Treatise  on  the  Improvement  of  the 
Understanding,  and  borrowing  some  of  its  ideas.  But 
prudence  prevented  him  from  mentioning  Spinoza,  to  whom 
he  simply  referred  as  quidam  (somebody). 

Incidentally  Tschirnhaus's  visit  to  London  led  to  a  re 
sumption  of  the  correspondence  between  Oldenburg  and 
Spinoza,  which  seems  to  have  been  dropped  since  1665. 
Spinoza  had  sent  a  copy  of  his  TractatusTheologico-Politicus 
to  Oldenburg,  who  felt  rather  shocked  by  its  heterodox 
views,  and  expressed  himself  accordingly  in  a  letter  which 
may  not  have  reached  Spinoza,  but  which,  in  any  case, 
would  probably  not  have  brought  about  a  renewal  of  their 
correspondence.  The  account,  however,  which  Tschirnhaus 
gave  of  Spinoza  and  his  views  seems  to  have  produced  a 
conciliatory  effect  on  Oldenburg,  who  thereupon  wrote 
another  letter  to  Spinoza,  saying  that "  a  closer  consideration 
of  the  whole  subject  had  convinced  him  that  he  (Spinoza) 
was  far  from  attempting  any  injury  to  true  religion  and 
sound  philosophy."  Spinoza,  who  had  taken  no  notice  of 
the  various  "refutations"  of  his  treatise  published  by 
various  people,  was  nevertheless  anxious  to  know,  and  to 
discuss  carefully,  the  objections  which  Oldenburg — or, 
indeed,  any  reasonable  people — had  to  bring  against  his 
views.  In  the  course  of  his  increasingly  stiff  letters,  it  turns 
out  that  Oldenburg  objected  to  the  entire  system  of 
Spinoza's  philosophy,  and  that  what  he  wished  Spinoza  to 
do  was  nothing  less  than  to  write  a  kind  of  philosophic 
apologetic  of  orthodox  Christianity  !  Spinoza  may  well 
have  wondered  whether  Oldenburg  was  guilty  of  stupidity 
or  of  hypocrisy. 


In  the  meantime  Spinoza  had  finished  his  Ethics,  and  was 
contemplating  its  immediate  publication.  He  mentioned 
this  to  Oldenburg  in  a  letter  written  at  the  end  of  June 
1675.  Oldenburg  replied  that  he  "  will  not  object  to  receiv 
ing  a  few  copies  of  the  said  treatise  "  to  dispose  of  among 
his  friends,  but  asked  him  to  send  them  in  such  a  way  that 
no  one  may  know  of  it,  and  begged  him  "  not  to  insert  any 
passages  which  may  seem  to  discourage  the  practice  of 
religion  and  virtue." 

About  the  end  of  July  1676  Spinoza  went  to  Amsterdam 
to  arrange  for  the  publication  of  the  Ethica.  What  happened 
there  is  best  told  in  Spinoza's  own  words.  "  While  I  was 
negotiating  [he  writes  to  Oldenburg]  a  rumour  gained 
currency  that  I  had  in  the  press  a  book  concerning  God, 
wherein  I  endeavoured  to  show  that  there  is  no  God. 
This  report  was  believed  by  many.  Thereupon  certain 
theologians,  perhaps  the  authors  of  the  rumour,  took 
occasion  to  complain  of  me  before  the  Prince  and  the 
Magistrates.  Moreover,  the  stupid  Cartesians,  being 
suspected  of  favouring  me,  endeavoured  to  remove  the 
aspersion  by  abusing  everywhere  my  opinions  and  writings, 
a  course  which  they  still  pursue.  When  I  became  aware  of 
this  through  trustworthy  men,  who  also  assured  me  that 
the  theologians  were  everywhere  lying  in  wait  for  me,  I 
determined  to  put  off  publishing  till  I  saw  how  things  were 
going.  .  .  .  But  matters  seem  to  get  worse  and  worse,  and 
I  am  still  uncertain  what  to  do." 

Oldenburg  must  have  felt  intensely  relieved  by  the  news 
that  the  publication  of  the  Ethica  had  been  indefinitely 
postponed.  The  poor  man  had  changed  indeed.  In  his 
early  days,  hearing  of  Spinoza's  hesitation  to  publish  the 
equally  unorthodox  Short  Treatise,  he  had  begged  Spinoza 
to  ignore  the  " petty  theologians"  and  to  publish.  "Come, 
good  sir  [he  then  said],  castaway  all  fear  of  exciting  against 
you  the  pigmies  of  our  time.  Long  enough  have  we  sacri- 


ficed  to  ignorance  and  pedantry.  Let  us  spread  the  sails  of 
true  knowledge,  and  explore  the  recesses  of  nature  more 
thoroughly  than  heretofore."  He  had  grown  nervous, 
almost  stupidly  nervous,  since  then.  It  must  be  remem 
bered,  however,  that  he  had  learned  an  unpleasant  lesson 
in  the  Tower  of  London,  in  1667,  that  he  was  never  really  a 
profound  thinker,  and  that  his  environment,  though  scien 
tific,  was  none  too  enlightened,  Robert  Boyle,  for  instance, 
regarded  his  escape  from  a  certain  thunderstorm  as  due  to 
miraculous  interposition,  and  one  may  well  believe  that  he 
had  strange  opinions  about  the  author  of  the  Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicm,  as  Tschirnhaus  relates.  Perhaps  it 
was  this  very  treatise  (coupled  with  "  the  shades  of  doubt 
which,"  as  he  confessed,  "  did  sometimes  cross  his  mind  ") 
that  first  suggested  to  him  the  idea  of  founding  the  Boyle 
Lectures  for  the  vindication  of  Christianity.  And  Olden 
burg  was  sufficiently  under  the  influence  of  Boyle  not  only 
to  suspect  Spinoza's  philosophy,  which  was  defensible 
enough,  but  even  to  suspect  his  motives,  which  was  quite 
indefensible,  and  which  Spinoza  certainly  resented. 

The  Ethica,  then,  had  to  be  laid  aside,  and  it  was  not 
destined  to  be  published  during  the  author's  lifetime. 
Spinoza  now  applied  himself  to  the  other  writings,  which 
have  already  been  enumerated  above.  The  Tractatus  Poli- 
ticus  must  have  engaged  most  of  his  attention  and  interest. 
From  one  point  of  view  it  was  a  fine  tribute  to  the  memory 
of  that  eminent  statesman  Jan  de  Witt,  whose  conduct  of 
affairs  received  here  its  fullest  philosophical  justification. 
Moreover  that  liberal  regime  was  rapidly  passing  away,  as 
Spinoza  had  good  reason  to  know.  The  Dutch  had  arrived 
at  the  parting  of  the  ways,  and  showed  a  marked  tendency 
to  leave  the  republican  highway  for  the  path  of  monarchy. 
Like  Samuel  of  old,  he  was  determined  solemnly  to  warn  his 
countrymen.  But,  above  all,  he  wanted  to  set  before  them 
a  vivid  exposition  of  the  great  principles  of  all  true  states- 


manship,  the  supreme  ideal  of  all  statecraft.  That  ideal 
was  the  perfection  of  the  individual  citizen.  This  was  only 
attainable  where  there  was  security  and  freedom.  And  the 
supreme  duty  of  the  State  was  to  secure  these  two  conditions. 
Democracy  was  the  best  form  of  government.  The  ideal, 
however,  may  also  be  approached  under  other  forms  of 
government.  But  whatever  the  external  form  may  be  (and 
Spinoza  must  have  realised  his  country's  almost  irrevocable 
drift  towards  monarchy),  let  not  the  true  ideal  be  forgotten. 
The  Political  Treatise  was  the  "  Ethical  Will  and  Testament " 
which  Spinoza  left  for  his  country  ;  and  it  was  a  dying  hand 
that  wrote  it,  too  late  to  finish  it. 

Four  months  before  his  death  Spinoza  made  the  personal 
acquaintance  of  Leibniz.  About  eight  years  before  that 
already  Leibniz  had  read  Spinoza's  version  of  Descartes' 
Principia,  and  in  1671  he  had  sent  him  a  copy  of  his  "  Notice 
of  the  Progress  of  Optics."  In  return  Spinoza  sent  him  a 
copy  of  his  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus.  This  book  was 
already  known  to  Leibniz,  and  had  been  described  by  him  as 
"  an  unbearably  free-thinking  book."  But  he  did  not  know 
till  then  who  its  author  was,  nor  did  his  teacher,  Professor 
Thomas,  who  had  written  a  "  refutation  "  of  it.  Leibniz 
wanted  to  communicate  his  discovery  to  his  teacher,  with 
out,  however,  disclosing  more  than  his  diplomacy  dictated. 
"  The  author  of  the  book,"  he  wrote,  "  is  Benedict  Spinoza, 
a  Jew  (my  Dutch  friends  write  me  word)  expelled  from  the 
Synagogue  for  his  monstrous  opinions,  but  a  man  of 
universal  learning,  and  especially  eminent  in  Optics,  and 
in  the  construction  of  very  fine  telescopes."  In  1675 
Leibniz  was  in  Paris,  and  there  he  met  Tschirnhaus,  who 
had  read  a  manuscript  copy  of  Spinoza's  Ethics,  and  now 
communicated  some  of  Spinoza's  views  to  Leibniz. 
Leibniz  grew  eager  to  read  the  Ethics  for  himself,  and 
Tschirnhaus  wrote  to  Dr.  Schuller  to  obtain  Spinoza's 
permission  to  show  Leibniz  a  copy  of  the  Ethics.  But 


Spinoza  declined.  He  had  no  faith  in  Leibniz,  and  his 
distrust  was  not  unfounded.  "  What  [asked  Spinoza]  takes 
Leibniz  away  from  Frankfort,  and  what  is  he  doing  in 
Paris  ?  "  Spinoza  had  reason  to  suspect  that  Leibniz  was 
on  a  mission  for  the  reunion  of  Protestants  and  Catholics, 
which  would  lead  to  a  joint  effort  to  repress  all  liberal 
tendencies,  and  to  suppress  freedom  of  thought  and  speech, 
which  were  so  near  to  his  heart.  Leibniz's  attitude  towards 
these  things  was  certainly  unlike  Spinoza's,  and  his  subse 
quent  behaviour  towards  Spinoza  rather  justified  that  in 
stinctive  distrust  with  which  Spinoza  at  first  met  him.  But 
when  Leibniz  came  to  the  Hague,  in  the  autumn  of  1676, 
Spinoza's  distrust  and  reserve  vanished.  Leibniz  frequently 
visited  Spinoza  in  his  humble  lodgings,  and  there  (as  he 
himself  has  left  on  record)  "  conversed  with  him  often  and 
at  great  length."  He  also  obtained  a  first-hand  knowledge 
of  Spinoza's  Ethics  then.  During  the  years  which  followed 
Leibniz  devoted  close  attention  to  the  philosophy  of  Spinoza, 
and  even  assimilated  some  of  his  ideas,  but  there  was  a 
remarkable  lack  of  common  generosity,  not  to  say  common 
honesty,  both  in  the  way  in  which  he  generally  avoided  all 
reference  to  Spinoza,  and  also  in  the  tone  of  his  remarks 
when  on  rare  occasions  he  did  refer  to  him. 

Spinoza's  days  were  ending  fast.  Dr.  Schuller,  writing  to 
Leibniz  on  the  6th  February,  1677,  expresses  his  fear  that 
Spinoza  would  not  remain  much  longer  among  them,  as  his 
consumption  was  growing  worse  from  day  to  day.  He 
was  only  forty-four  years  of  age,  but  his  constitution  was 
enfeebled  through  hereditary  consumption,  aggravated  by 
the  glass-dust  from  the  lenses,  and  the  sedentary  habits  of 
the  student.  And  he  had  lived  strenuous  days.  To  the  very 
last  he  was  up  and  doing.  On  Saturday  afternoon  the  2oth 
February  1677,  he  was  still  downstairs  chatting  with  the 
Van  der  Spycks,  But  he  had  already  sent  for  Dr.  Schuller, 
and  retired  early  to  bed.  On  the  Sunday  morning  Dr. 


Schuller  arrived.  Spinoza  was  up;  and  at  midday  had  some 
chicken-broth  which  the  doctor  had  ordered  for  him.  There 
seemed  to  be  no  immediate  danger,  and  the  Van  der  Spycks 
went  to  church  in  the  afternoon.  On  their  way  home 
they  were  informed  that  Spinoza  was  no  more.  He  had 
passed  away  at  three  o'clock,  in  the  presence  of  Dr.  Schuller. 

Four  days  later  Spinoza  was  buried  in  the  New  Church 
on  the  Spuy,  which  is  quite  near  to  the  Paviljoensgragt. 
Six  coaches  followed  the  cortege,  and  many  prominent 
people  followed  him  to  his  last  resting-place,  which  was 
close  to  that  of  Jan  de  Witt.  Of  wordly  possessions  he  left 
very  little  behind  him,  and  that  chiefly  in  the  way  of  books. 
Dr.  Schuller  took  possession  of  some  of  the  most  valuable 
of  these,  and  even  then  there  still  remained  about  160 
works  (some  of  them  quite  costly),  the  list  of  which  has 
fortunately  been  preserved  ;  and  copies  of  nearly  all  of  them 
are  now  in  the  Spinoza  Museum  at  Rijnsburg.  The  pro 
ceeds  of  these,  and  of  some  lenses  which  he  also  left  behind, 
were  just  enough  to  defray  all  his  debts  and  the  cost  of 
burial — though  his  grave  was  but  a  hired  grave,  and  was 
used  again  some  years  after  his  death. 

In  accordance  with  Spinoza's  instructions,  his  desk,  con 
taining  the  manuscripts  of  his  unpublished  works,  was 
entrusted  to  the  care  of  Jan  Rieuwertsz,  the  Amsterdam  book 
seller.  Immediate  publication  seemed  to  be  dangerous  for 
publisher  and  editors  ;  and  when  they  had  the  courage  they 
had  not  the  money  to  proceed  with  the  printing.  For  a 
time  they  thought  of  selling  the  manuscript  of  the  Ethica  to 
Leibniz,  intending  no  doubt  to  apply  the  proceeds  towards 
the  cost  of  printing  it  from  one  of  their  own  copies  of  that 
work.  Schuller  had  already  communicated  with  Leibniz 
about  it,  but  at  the  last  moment  some  one  at  the  Hague 
came  to  the  rescue,  and  as  early  as  November  1677  Spinoza's 
Opera  Posthuma  appeared  in  print.  It  consisted  of  one  quarto 
volume,  and  contained  the  Ethics,  the  Political  Treatise,  the 
Treatise  on  the  Improvement  of  the  Understanding,  the  Letters, 



and  the  Hebrew  Grammar.  All  names  and  other  means  ©f 
identification  had  been  carefully  removed  from  the  corre 
spondence  ;  the  editors'  names,  as  also  the  name  of  the  pub 
lisher  and  the  place  of  publication  were  not  given  ;  and 
only  the  initials  of  Spinoza  (B.  D.  S.)  appeared  on  the  title- 
page.  The  editors  were  Jelles  (who  appears  to  have  written 
the  Preface),  Meyer,  and  Schuller  ;  and  the  editorial  work 
seems  to  have  been  carried  on  secretly  in  one  of  the  rooms 
of  the  Orphan  Asylum,  which  had  just  been  established  in 
Amsterdam  by  some  of  Spinoza's  Collegiant  friends.  It  was 
at  this  Orphan  Asylum  (which  is  still  in  existence)  that  some 
of  the  originals  of  Spinoza's  letters  were  subsequently  dis 
covered,  with  editorial  pencil-notes  on  them. 

Two  hundred  years  later  a  remarkable  contrast  to  this 
secrecy  was  witnessed,  when  the  whole  learned  world  joined 
in  celebrating  the  memory  of  Spinoza.  In  1880  his  statue 
was  erected  in  the  Hague,  within  view  of  both  houses  where 
he  had  lived  his  last  years.  And  a  new,  complete  edition  of 
his  works  was  published  in  1882,  containing  a  portrait  espe 
cially  engraved  from  the  painting  in  the  library  at  Wolfen- 
biittel,  where  Lessing,  poet,  philosopher,  and  champion  of 
the  ill-used,  had,  nearly  a  century  before  that,  taken  the  first 
steps  towards  the  due  recognition  of  Spinoza.  The  tribute 
paid  to  his  memory  was  world-wide ;  and  it  was  well 
deserved.  For  there  is  considerable  truth  in  Heine's  witty 
saying  that  "  all  our  modern  philosophers,  though  often 
perhaps  unconsciously,  see  through  the  glasses  which 
Baruch  Spinoza  ground." 


In  attempting  to  form  an  estimate  of  the  character  of 
Spinoza,  one  should  be  guided  by  what  is  actually  known 
about  him  from  the  direct  evidence  of  those  who  knew  him 
personally.  There  is  a  natural  temptation  to  judge  his 


personality  by  deductions  from  his  views  as  seen  through 
one's  own  spectacles.  But  it  is  not  too  much  to  say  that,  of 
the  two  alternative  courses,  it  is  far  more  safe  to  interpret  the 
philosophy  of  Spinoza  in  the  light  of  what  is  independently 
known  about  his  life  and  character  than  to  estimate  his 
character  in  the  light  of  certain  deductions  from  an  inde 
pendent  interpretation  of  his  views.  During  his  lifetime 
Spinoza  was  often  condemned  and  vilified  on  the  score  of 
his  opinions,  and  on  account  of  defects  which,  it  was  tacitly 
assumed,  these  revealed  in  his  character.  There  is  reason 
to  believe  that,  but  for  his  death,  Spinoza's  fate  might 
have  been  very  much  like  that  of  Koerbagh.  After  his  death, 
it  was  considered  a  crime  to  say  anything  good  about  Spi 
noza,  and  for  more  than  a  century  afterwards  his  name  was 
anathema  maranatha.  Even  people  who  were  not  too  sensi 
tive  to  his  criticism  of  the  Bible  felt  that  a  man  who  main 
tained  the  relativity  of  good  and  evil,  and  believed  in 
universal  necessity,  had  no  incentive  to  be  good,  and,  there 
fore,  was  very  likely  bad.  Such  an  interpretation  and  deduc 
tion  were,  to  say  the  least,  very  one-sided,  and, towards  the  end 
of  the  eighteenth  century,  its  absurdity  was  exposed  by  the  no 
less  one-sided  view  which,  by  laying  exclusive  stress  on  "  the 
intellectual  love  of  God  "  and  kindred  doctrines  of  Spinoza, 
transformed  him  into  a  "  God-intoxicated"  saint. 

If  we  turn  to  the  main  facts  of  Spinoza's  life,  and  to  the 
recorded  judgments  of  the  people  who  knew  him  personally, 
there  can  be  no  doubt  that  Spinoza,  though  not  a  saint  in 
the  accepted  sense  of  the  expression,  was  certainly  one  of 
the  finest  characters  of  which  the  history  of  philosophy  can 
boast.  The  dominant  feature  in  his  character  was  his  devo 
tion  to  the  pursuit  of  truth.  For  it  he  was  ever  ready  to 
make  all  sacrifices.  Neither  bribes  nor  threats  could  in  any 
way  seduce  him  from  that  pursuit.  And  he  readily  sacri 
ficed  his  personal  comfort  in  order  that  he  might  have 
money  for  books,  and  time  for  study.  To  him  the  pursuit 


of  truth  was  no  mere  pastime  or  trade — it  was  the  true  life 
of  man.  One  might  almost  say  that  it  constituted  the 
religion  of  Spinoza.  Yet  he  was  no  mere  intellectualist. 
If  his  devotion  to  knowledge  reminds  one  of  the  striking 
utterances  of  his  great  medieval  kinsman,  Maimonides 
(whose  Guide  of  the  Perplexed  Spinoza  read  and  possessed), 
his  moral  earnestness  re-echoes  something  of  the  voice  of 
the  Prophets.  Nothing  offended  him  more  than  the  sug 
gestion  that  his  views  tended  to  discourage  the  practice  of 
virtue  ;  nothing  outraged  him  more  than  the  reading  of 
Homo  Politicus,  a  book  in  which,  from  apparently  Spinozistic 
principles,  maxims  were  deduced  for  the  most  selfish  and 
immoral  conduct.  Again  and  again  he  insisted  on  absolute 
purity  of  motive  even  in  the  communication  of  views  which 
he  regarded  as  absolutely  true.  When  sending  his  Short 
Treatise  to  his  Amsterdam  friends  he  begs  of  them  to  be 
sure  that  nothing  but  the  good  of  their  neighbours  will  ever 
induce  them  to  communicate  its  doctrines  to  others.  And 
it  was  out  of  considerateness  for  his  fellow-men  that  he 
tried,  as  far  as  possible,  not  to  unsettle  their  religious  beliefs. 
He  assured  the  Van  der  Spycks  that  their  religion  was  quite 
good,  and  that  they  need  have  no  misgivings  whatever  so 
long  as  their  conduct  was  good  and  upright.  Good  conduct 
and  pure  motives,  these  were  the  most  essential  things,  and, 
devoted  as  he  was  to  truth,  he  maintained  that  Turks  and 
heathens  who  did  their  duty  and  loved  their  fellow-men 
were  filled  with  the  spirit  of  Christ,  whom  Spinoza  regarded 
as  the  highest  type  of  manhood.  Even  in  the  professed 
polemic  of  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus  he  passes  by 
without  criticism  the  less  harmful  of  orthodox  doctrines, 
although  he  disagreed  with  them.  But  there  was  no  dupli 
city  about  him ;  when  men  of  education  invited  his  views 
on  some  of  these  very  doctrines  (such  as  the  divinity  of 
Christ)  he  did  not  mince  matters,  but  expressed  his  views 
without  any  equivocation.  His  means  for  active  benevo- 


lence  were  not  great.  Still  what  little  he  possessed  was 
at  the  service  of  his  friends.  When  informed  that  a  con 
siderable  sum  of  money,  which  he  had  lent  in  this  way,  was 
lost,  he  merely  remarked  quietly,  and  with  a  smile,  that  he 
would  have  to  draw  in  his  expenses  for  the  future.  Wealth 
and  position  had  no  undue  attraction  for  him.  He  would 
not  for  their  sake  bind  or  blind  his  judgment  by  accepting 
the  Heidelberg  professorship,  or  even  appear  to  do  so  by 
paying  a  formal  compliment  to  a  monarch  whose  aims  and 
methods  he  condemned.  In  this  respect  he  stood  head  and 
shoulders  above  some  of  his  most  eminent  contemporaries 
in  the  world  of  science.  But  though  of  an  independent 
spirit  he  was  neither  proud  nor  cold  and  reserved.  He 
met  half-way,  and  more,  all  people  who  offered  him  their 
friendship.  He  showed  wonderful  patience  with  the  most 
mediocre  people  who  turned  to  him  with  their  difficulties  ; 
and  he  was  kindly  to  the  humblest.  Amid  all  the  accusa 
tions  brought  against  Spinoza,  no  specific  charge  was  ever 
made  against  his  moral  character.  It  was  always  his  here 
tical  views,  and  his  character  as  deduced  a  priori  from  these 
views  by  the  ingenuity  of  "  learned  parsons,"  that  were  flung 
at  his  head.  This  is  remarkable  in  itself,  and  is  amply  con 
firmed  by  Colerus,  the  Lutheran  pastor,  who,  though  he 
considered  Spinoza's  heresies  to  be  abominable  and  most 
outrageous,  has  nevertheless  made  it  perfectly  clear  that 
Spinoza's  morals  were  unassailable.  The  peasants  at  Rijns- 
burg  and  Voorburg,  we  are  expressly  told,  agreed  that  he  was 
"  a  man  whom  it  was  good  to  know,  kind,  upright,  obliging, 
and  of  good  morals."  People  of  culture  felt  a  peculiar  charm 
in  his  presence,  and  men  of  his  own  age,  and  even  older 
men,  looked  upon  him  with  the  respect  of  disciples.  We 
have  seen  already  what  impression  he  made  on  Oldenburg 
and  the  Seigneur  de  St.  Evremont  when  they  came  into  per 
sonal  touch  with  him.  The  account  which  we  have  from  Dr. 
Lucas,  who  knew  Spinoza  intimately  in  the  Hague,  breathes 


a  spirit  of  the  utmost  veneration.  And  many  who  have  only 
read  his  writings  have  felt  themselves  in  the  presence  of  an 
uncommon  moral  atmosphere  of  utter  unselfishness  and 
disinterestedness,  and  a  boundless  faith  in  human  goodness. 
Spinoza  was  not  a  saint.  He  did  not  believe  in  turning 
the  cheek  to  the  smiter.  Nor  was  he  so  other-worldly  as  to 
despise  the  world  and  the  flesh.  He  could  say  hard  things 
against  insolent  ignoramuses  and  heretic-hunters  ;  he  never 
quite  forgot  the  wrong  done  to  him  by  his  kinsmen  and 
his  tribe  ;  and,  in  the  heat  of  conflict,  he  even  forgot  to 
pause  for  a  moment  in  order  to  acknowledge  some  of  the 
merits  of  the  Law  and  the  Prophets.  He  was  human,  and 
was  influenced  by  emotions  to  a  far  greater  extent  than  is 
supposed  by  those  who  exaggerate  his  intellectualism,  be 
cause  they  deduce  his  character  from  certain  aspects  of  his 
philosophy.  He  could  be  angry  with  immorality  and  in 
tolerance,  and  he  felt  injured  by  unmerited  suspicion.  He 
laughed  to  see  divines  excel  the  devil  by  their  wiles ;  and 
he  wept  over  the  tragic  fate  of  the  de  Witts.  He  was  not 
even  an  ascetic.  Though  extraordinarily  abstemious  in  his 
mode  of  life — living  on  a  few  pence  a  day  and  with  a  pipe 
for  his  only  luxury — this  was  mainly  due  to  his  circum 
stances.  His  desire  for  independence  and  his  devotion  to 
books  made  it  impossible  for  him  to  earn  sufficient  to  in 
dulge  in  the  ordinary  comforts  of  life,  and  so  abstemious 
ness  gradually  became  a  habit  with  him.  But  he  had  no 
contempt  for  the  reasonable  pleasures  or  joys  of  life.  "  I 
enjoy  life  [he  wrote]  and  try  to  live  it,  not  in  sorrow  and 
sighing,  but  in  peace,  joy,  and  cheerfulness."  And  those 
who  knew  him  have  confirmed  the  truth  of  this.  He  could 
not  understand  how  any  one  could  find,  or  imagine  that 
God  would  find,  any  virtue  in  sighs  and  tears,  and  the  like. 
"  Nothing  [he  insists]  but  a  gloomy  and  sad  superstition  for 
bids  enjoyment."  Indeed,  what  he  had,  in  the  first  instance, 
sought  in  philosophy  was  guidance  in  the  attainment  of 


happiness.  It  was  not,  as  in  the  case  of  Descartes,  discontent 
with  the  then  state  of  knowledge  that  drove  him  to  philosophy, 
but  discontent  with  the  ordinary  pursuits  and  pleasures  of  life, 
because  they  failed  to  bring  abiding  happiness.  This  is  evident 
from  the  opening  passage  of  his  Treatise  on  the  Improvement 
of  the  Understanding,  already  quoted  above.  He  had  turned 
to  philosophy  for  guidance  in  the  pursuit  of  happiness,  and 
found  his  happiness  in  the  pursuit  of  philosophy. 

On  the  other  hand,  there  was  certainly  something  of  the 
higher  mysticism  about  Spinoza.  It  would  be  a  mistake  to 
empty  his  religious  terminology  of  all  its  religious  meaning. 
We  are  trenching  here  on  a  difficult  question  of  interpreta 
tion,  and  we  do  not  wish  to  dogmatise.  Still  it  should  not 
be  forgotten  that,  though  convinced  of  the  truth  of  his 
philosophy,  Spinoza  was  far  from  supposing  that  it  was  the 
whole  truth.  There  were  but  few  things,  even  in  the  world 
of  extension  and  thought,  of  which  he  professed  to  have 
the  highest  kind  of  knowledge  ;  while,  besides  extension 
and  thought,  there  were  infinite  aspects  of  the  universe  (or 
attributes  of  substance)  of  which  he  avowedly  had  no  know 
ledge  whatever.  He  felt  more  than  he  saw.  And  though 
he  loved  to  live  in  the  clear,  common  light  of  day,  and 
hated  the  bigotry  and  superstition  that  lurk  in  the  shadows 
of  the  twilight,  yet  he  felt  the  glow  of  the  presence  that 
dwells  in  the  setting  sun,  even  if  he  was  not  absorbed  in  visions 
of  a  light  that  never  shone  on  land  or  sea.  It  was  some 
thing  of  this  mystic  feeling  that  prompted  his  religious 
language,  and  gave  to  his  personality  that  charm  which 
won  all  who  came  near  him.  It  also  won  for  him  the  sym 
pathy  of  poets  like  Goethe  and  Lessing,  Coleridge  and 
Wordsworth,  just  as  his  calm  scientific  outlook  has  made 
him  a  favourite  with  men  of  science.  His  moral  ardour  seems 
almost  aglow  with  this  mystic  fire,  and,  if  we  may  not  call 
him  a  priest  of  the  most  high  God,  yet  he  was  certainly  a 
prophet  of  the  power  which  makes  for  righteousness. 



THE  Short  Treatise  was  not  published  in  the  lifetime  of 
Spinoza,  nor  was  it  included  in  the  Opera  Posthuma  pub 
lished  in  November  1677,  shortly  after  the  death  of  Spinoza. 
The  writer  of  the  Preface  to  the  Opera  Posthuma  does  not 
even  refer  to  it  specifically.  He  alludes  to  the  essay  On  the 
Rainbow,  of  which  he  appears  to  have  been  unable  to  obtain 
a  copy,  and  which  he  believed  to  have  been  burned  by 
Spinoza.  But,  for  the  rest,  he  simply  remarks  in  a  general 
sort  of  way  that  "  although  it  is  credible  that  some  work  of 
our  philosopher  [Spinoza]  may  still  be  in  the  possession  of 
somebody  or  other  without  his  knowledge,  it  may  never 
theless  be  assumed  that  nothing  will  be  found  therein 
which  is  not  already  given  repeatedly  in  these  writings," 
that  is,  in  the  Ethics,  the  Political  Treatise,  the  Treatise  on 
the  Improvement  of  the  Understanding,  the  Correspondence, 
and  the  Hebrew  Grammar,  which  between  them  constituted 
the  Opera  Posthuma.  Thus  no  reference  is  made  to  the  Short 
Treatise  even  as  a  possibly  lost  work  of  Spinoza.  On  the 
other  hand,  it  should  be  remembered  that  to  the  editors  of 
the  Opera  Posthuma,  as  indeed  to  Spinoza  himself,  the  Short 
Treatise  appeared  to  have  been  superseded  by  the  Ethics. 
Hence  the  silence  about  the  Short  Treatise  may  not  be  so 
strange  after  all,  and  one  should  not  attach  too  much 
importance  to  it.  A  report  dating  from  1703,  the  truth 
of  which  there  is  no  reason  to  doubt,  tends  to  show  that 
J.  Rieuwertsz  (junior),  the  publisher  of  the  Opera  Posthuma, 



actually  possessed  a  manuscript  copy  of  what  is  now  called 
the  Short  Treatise,  but  which  was  then  not  unnaturally 
regarded  simply  as  an  early  draft  of  the  Ethics. 

In  1703,  Gottlieb  Stolle  (1673-1744) — a  Silesian  who  was 
appointed  Professor  of  Political  Science  at  Jena  in  1717  — 
and  a  Dr.  Hallmann  travelled  through  Holland,  where  they 
interviewed  various  people  who  had  known  Spinoza.  Among 
others  they  saw  Rieuwertsz  at  Amsterdam.  Rieuwertsz  gave 
them  some  personal  reminiscences  of  Spinoza,  for  whom  (so 
they  relate)  he  showed  uncommon  affection,  and,  with  tears 
in  his  eyes,  wished  that  Spinoza  were  still  alive.  Rieuwertsz 
also  showed  them  several  manuscripts  of  Spinoza's  works, 
and  among  them  was  one  apparently  written  in  Spinoza's 
own  handwriting.  This  (according  to  Hallmann)  was  no 
other  than  Spinoza's  first,  Dutch  version  of  the  Ethica  ;  it  was 
quite  different  from  the  published  Ethica — not  worked  out 
in  the  geometric  method,  but  in  the  ordinary  way,  and 
divided  into  chapters,  like  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus  ; 
Rieuwertsz  assured  them  that  the  printed  Ethica  was  very 
much  better  than  this  manuscript  version,  though  the  latter 
contained  some  things  which  were  omitted  from  the  former, 
notably  the  chapter  on  the  Devil.  Several  friends  of 
Spinoza,  said  Rieuwertsz,  had  copies  of  that  manuscript, 
which  had  never  been  printed  because  the  Latin  version, 
which  had  been  published,  was  altogether  superior  and  had 
been  well  edited.  The  story  is  not  altogether  free  from 
difficulties.  But  it  undoubtedly  gives  us  an  explicit 
reference  to  the  so-called  Short  Treatise.  Stolle  and  Hall- 
mann's  account  of  their  travels,  written  in  1704,  was  not 
published  till  1847,*  but  Stolle  repeated  his  information  about 
the  Short  Treatise  in  his  Brief  Introduction  to  the  History  of 
Learning,  which  was  published  in  1718.  The  story  about  the 
Dutch  Ethics  and  the  chapter  on  the  Devil  was  repeated  by 

*  Extracts  from  Stolle-Hallmann's  Reisebeschreibung  are  given  in  Freu- 
denthal's  Die  Lebensgeschichte  Spinozas,  pp.  221  #. 


].  F.  Reimmann  (1668-1743)  in  his  Catalogue  of  Theological 
Books,  which  was  published  in  1731,  also  by  ].  C.  Mylius  in 
his  Library  of  Anonymous  and  Pseudonymous  Authors,  which 
was  published  in  1740.  These  notices,  however,  do  not 
seem  to  have  attracted  any  attention.  Spinoza  had  such  an 
evil  reputation  among  respectable  scholars  (including  Stolle 
and  Reimmann)  that  there  was  no  anxiety  to  discover  or 
recover  any  of  his  unpublished  works,  the  published  ones 
being  considered  more  than  enough.  In  the  latter  half  of 
the  eighteenth  century  we  observe,  indeed,  some  signs  of  an 
active  interest  in  Spinoza  remains.  C.  T.  de  Murr,  of 
Nurnberg,  visited  Holland  in  search  of  Spinoza  relics.  He 
brought  back  with  him  a  Latin  manuscript  copy  of 
Spinoza's  notes  to  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus,  and  a 
report  that  Spinoza's  Ethica  was  originally  written  in  Dutch 
and  contained  a  chapter  on  the  Devil,  that  he  then  trans 
lated  it  into  Latin,  throwing  it  at  the  same  time  into 
geometric  form,  owing  to  which  and  other  alterations  it 
was  retranslated  from  the  Latin  into  Dutch  by  Jarig  Jelles. 
For  about  a  century  the  matter  rested  there. 

In  1851  Edward  Boehmer,  Professor  of  Philosophy  at 
Halle,  went  to  Holland,  also  in  search  of  Spinoza  rarities. 
At  Amsterdam  he  bought  from  F.  Miiller,  a  well-known 
bookseller  there,  a  copy  of  the  Life  of  Spinoza  by  Colerus. 
Section  12  of  Colerus'  Life  of  Spinoza  treats  very  briefly  of 
the  philosopher's  unpublished  writings,  and  Boehmer's 
copy  had  a  manuscript  note  (in  Dutch)  to  this  section, 
saying  that  among  certain  votaries  of  philosophy  there  was 
still  extant,  in  manuscript,  a  treatise  of  Spinoza,  which 
treats  of  the  same  subjects  as  the  printed  Ethica,  though 
not  in  the  geometric  method,  and  that  its  style  and  general 
drift  show  it  to  be  one  of  the  earliest  of  Spinoza's  writings, 
in  fact  the  first  draft  of  the  Ethica,  and  for  some  people 
less  obscure  than  this,  just  because  it  is  not  cast  in  the 
geometric  form,  except  to  a  very  small  extent  in  the 



Appendix  to  the  treatise.  And  at  the  end  of  the  same  copy 
of  Colerus'  Life  of  Spinoza  there  actually  followed  a  fairly 
complete  analysis  of  the  Short  Treatise,  chapter  by  chapter, 
and  written  in  the  same  hand  as  the  note  to  section  12. 
Boehmer  published  his  Benedicti  de  Spinoza  Tractatus  de 
Deo  et  Homine  ejusque  Felicitate  Lineamenta  in  1852,  and  a 
new  impetus  was  given  to  the  search  for  the  Short  Treatise. 
Not  long  afterwards  a  manuscript  copy  of  the  Short 
Treatise  itself  came  to  light.  F.  Miiller,  the  same  bookseller 
from  whom  Boehmer  had  got  his  copy  of  the  Colerus, 
bought  this  manuscript  of  the  Short  Treatise  at  an  auction. 
And  while  Dr.  J.  van  Vloten  was  preparing  to  publish  it 
together  with  some  Spinoza  letters,  which  had  been  dis 
covered  at  the  Collegiant  Orphan  Asylum  in  Amsterdam,  a 
second  (and  older)  manuscript  of  the  Short  Treatise  was 
discovered.  The  poet,  Adrian  Bogaers,  of  Rotterdam, 
found  it  among  his  books.  This  (the  older)  manuscript  is 
generally  referred  to  as  codex  A,  the  other  as  codex  B. 
The  first  edition  of  the  Short  Treatise  was  published,  in 
1862,  by  Dr.  ].  van  Vloten  in  his  Ad  Benedicti  de  Spinoza 
Opera  qucz  Supersunt  Omnia  Supplementum.  It  was  based 
on  both  the  manuscripts,  and  was  accompanied  by  a  Latin 
translation.  A  more  careful  edition  of  codex  A  was 
published  in  1869  by  Professor  C.  Schaarschmidt,  of  Bonn, 
and  also  by  Van  Vloten  and  Land  in  their  editions  of  the 
complete  works  of  Spinoza  (1882,  1895.)  Both  manuscripts 
are  now  in  the  Royal  Library  at  the  Hague. 


When  Codex  B  was  discovered  it  was  found  that  the 
handwriting  was  the  same  as  that  of  the  notes  and  "  out 
line  "  in  Boehmer's  copy  of  Colerus'  Life  of  Spinoza,  and 

J  >£<Vt_  t^i^voGi^e^^  eV^^<^fcc>n— 

^r-cC  v^\.1&at!A,&*5 



Dr.  Antonius  van  der  Linde  had  already  shown  that  the 
handwriting  in  Boehmer's  Colerus  was  precisely  the  same 
as  that  of  various  manuscripts  which  were  known  to  have 
been  copied  by  Johannes  Monnikhoff,  an  Amsterdam  doctor 
who  was  born  in  1707  and  died  in  1787.  Preceding  the 
Short  Treatise  in  codex  B  is  a  long  introduction  in  which 
reference  is  made  to  the  year  1743,  so  that  this  copy  could 
not  have  been  written  before  then.  The  same  codex  also 
contains,  at  the  end,  Notes  to  the  Tractatus  Theologico- 
Politicus,  all  of  them  in  the  same  handwriting.  The  Intro 
duction  seems  to  be  the  composition  of  Monnikhoff,  while 
the  Short  Treatise  and  the  Notes  were  evidently  copied  by 
him.  That  the  handwriting  is  that  of  Monnikhoff  is  certain 
from  the  fact  that  several  manuscripts,  at  the  Hague  Library, 
written  in  exactly  the  same  hand  have  introductions  which 
are  signed  by  him.  We  reproduce  from  one  of  these 
manuscripts  a  facsimile  of  some  verses  signed  by  Johannes 
Monnikhoff,  for  comparison  with  the  facsimiles  of  several 
pages  from  codex  B.  According  to  F.  Miiller,  the  book 
seller  who  discovered  it,  codex  B  of  the  Short  Treatise 
accompanied  a  Dutch  manuscript  translation  of  Spinoza's 
version  of  Descartes'  Principia.  But  of  this  there  is  no 
sign  in  the  parchment-bound  quarto  volume  which  contains 
simply  an  Introduction  on  the  life  and  writings  of  Spinoza, 
the  Short  Treatise,  and  the  Notes  to  the  Tractatus  Theologico- 
Politicus — no  more.  On  the  back  of  the  volume,  however, 
the  title  is  obviously  incomplete.  It  says 


and  there  is  evidently  missing  a  second  volume  having  on 
its  back  the  rest  of  the  whole  title,  namely  : 


De  Spinoza 


This  is  highly  probable,  because  in  another  two-volume 
manuscript  copied  also  by  Monnikhoff  the  title  of  the  work 
is  similarly  spread  over  the  backs  of  the  two  volumes.  And 
it  is  possible  that  the  missing  volume  may  have  contained 
the  Principia,  or  perhaps  some  other  work,  since  the  Prin- 
cipia  was  already  published,  in  Dutch  as  well  as  in  Latin. 
The  Introduction  in  codex  B,  it  is  interesting  to  note,  gives 
also  a  summary  of  the  Short  Treatise  which  is  practically 
identical  with  the  "  Outline "  in  Boehmer's  copy  of 

Codex  A  is  a  much  thicker  quarto  volume,  and  contains 
the  Short  Treatise,  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus,  and 
the  Notes  to  it,  all  in  Dutch,  but  the  Notes  are  not  in  the 
same  handwriting  as  the  rest  of  the  volume.  A  is  evidently 
older  than  B,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  very  handwriting, 
which  belongs  to  the  seventeenth  century,  and  is  much 
more  faded.  Moreover,  even  a  cursory  inspection  reveals 
the  fact  that  the  writer  who  had  copied  B  had  also  been 
busy  with  A,  which  contains  numerous,  though  mostly 
unimportant,  additions  in  the  same  handwriting  as  B.  For 
instance,  at  the  beginning  of  the  whole  volume  there  is  the 
following  title-page  in  Monnikhoff's  writing — 

"  The  Writings  of  Benedict  de  Spinoza,  comprising 

"  I.  A  Treatise  on  God,  Man  and  his  Well-being. 
"II.  A  Theologico-Political  Treatise. 

"  Both  of  them  with  the  Notes  of  the  Author,  and  translated 
from  the  Latin." 

Separate  title-pages  in  the  same  writing  also  precede  the 
Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus  and  the  Notes.  Again,  follow 
ing  the  Table  of  Contents,  there  is  a  portrait  of  Spinoza 
apparently  inserted  there  by  Monnikhoff,  who  may  have 
taken  it  from  a  copy  of  the  1677  edition  of  the  Opera 
Posthuma,  and  facing  it  (on  the  left)  are  some  well-meaning 


[PAGE  14  IN  A] 

c /    - 



,    t^JUV^tn^^-^/i^. 
c>-vu.d-c>T__  ^CoxA —  e-cxMxv^ — • 

[PAGE  23  IN  B] 


lines  on  the  portrait,*  and  both  the  writing  and  the  thought 
are  extremely  like  those  of  the  other  verses  signed  by 
Monnikhoff,  of  which  a  facsimile  has  already  been 
given.  There  are  also  numerous  page-headings,  chapter- 
headings,  and  cross-references  in  MonnikhorFs  writing. 
Occasionally  he  also  inserted  a  word  in  the  text,  or  re- 
copied  an  illegible  note,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  accom 
panying  facsimile,  where  the  illegible  marginal  note  in  the 
original  handwriting  is  seen  crossed  out  and  rewritten  by 
Monnikhoff  as  a  foot-note.  The  corresponding  passage 
from  B  is  also  reproduced  for  comparison. 

It  is  clear,  therefore,  that  codex  A  is  older  than  B,  and 
that  the  copyist  who  wrote  out  B  also  knew  and  used  A. 
But  when  and  by  whom  was  A  written  ?  The  writing,  as 
already  remarked,  belongs  to  the  seventeenth  century.  But 
it  was  certainly  not  written  out  by  Spinoza  himself.  This  is 
obvious  already  from  the  title-page,  where  we  are  distinctly 
told  (in  the  same  writing  as  the  bulk  of  the  manuscript)  that 
the  Short  Treatise  was  originally  composed  in  Latin,  and 
that  it  was  translated  for  some  of  Spinoza's  disciples  ;  and 
the  whole  tone  of  this  title-page  (or  preface,  as  it  might  be 
called)  is  very  unlike  what  we  should  expect  from  Spinoza. 
Moreover,  a  reference  to  Spinoza's  autograph  t  is  quite 
conclusive  on  this  point.  It  has  been  suggested  that  codex 
A  was  copied  by  William  Deurhoff  (?  1650-1717),  a  Dutch 
theologian  and  a  Cartesian.  This  suggestion  derived  con 
siderable  plausibility  from  the  fact  that  the  fairly  numerous 
other  manuscripts  copied  by  Monnikhoff  were  all  of  them 
the  works  of  Deurhoff — MonnikhofFs  signed  verses,  already 
given  above,  actually  occur  in  one  such  manuscript,  and 
face  a  portrait  of  Deurhoff.  It  seems,  therefore,  not  un 
natural  to  suppose  that  Monnikhoff  copied  codex  B  from 

*  Reproductions  of  the  portrait  and  the  verses  are  given  at  the  com 
mencement  of  the  Translation  (inserted  between  pp.  10  and  n). 
f  See  p.  Ix. 


A,  largely  because  this  was  in  Deurhoff' s  handwriting.  A 
comparison  with  Deurhoff's  authentic  handwriting  is,  un 
fortunately,  impossible.  The  only  authentic  autograph  of 
Deurhoff  that  has  been  discovered  so  far  consists  of  his 
signature,  written  in  1685,  and  this  seems  to  be  insufficient 
to  go  upon  with  certainty.  Dr.  W.  Meyer,  who  has  seen  the 
signature,  thinks  that  it  rather  tends  to  disprove  the  con 
jecture  that  A  was  copied  by  Deurhoff.  And  the  tone  of 
the  Preface  on  the  title-page  of  A  is  also  unfavourable  to  it, 
because  Deurhoff  had  no  such  admiration  for  Spinoza.  On 
the  other  hand,  it  may  be  reasonably  supposed  that  codex  A 
was  the  property  of  Deurhoff,  and  that  Monnikhoff  obtained 
it  from  him. 

Dr.  W.  Meyer  has  made  the  interesting  suggestion  that 
codex  A  was  originally  the  property  of  Jarig  Jelles — perhaps 
the  very  copy  of  the  translations  which  he  himself  had 
obtained  of  the  Short  Treatise  and  the  Tractatus  Theologico- 
Politicus.  Jarig  Jelles  was  one  of  the  oldest  and  warmest 
friends  of  Spinoza,  and  had  defrayed  the  cost  of  publishing 
Spinoza's  version  of  Descartes'  Principia,  both  the  Latin 
and  the  Dutch  versions.  Jelles,  who  was  a  spice  merchant, 
did  not  know  Latin,  and  it  may  have  been  he  who  persuaded 
Pieter  Balling  to  translate  Spinoza's  Principia  into  Dutch 
for  that  reason.  It  would  appear  that  he  also  had  the 
Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus  translated  into  Dutch,  and  that 
he  was  about  to  have  it  published  in  1671.  For,  in  a  letter 
addressed  to  Jelles  in  that  year,  Spinoza  begs  him  to  prevent 
the  publication  of  the  Dutch  translation  of  the  Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus,  as  it  might  lead  to  the  prohibition  even 
of  the  Latin  edition.  Accordingly,  no  Dutch  translation  of 
this  treatise  appeared  till  1693,  and  then  another  followed 
in  1694.  Now  the  Dutch  version  of  the  Theologico-Political 
Treatise  which  is  contained  in  codex  A  is  not  identical  with 
either  of  these  two  other  translations,  and  it  is  most  probably 
earlier  than  1694,  because  a  new  translation  would  hardly 


be  made  after  two  others  had  already  been  published.  Codex 
A,  moreover,  bears  some  evidence  of  intended  publication. 
Dr.  W.  Meyer,  therefore,  suggests  that  the  Dutch  version 
which  is  contained  in  A  is  the  very  same  which  was  about  to 
be  published  in  1671,  but  was  kept  back  at  Spinoza's  request. 
And  since  the  Short  Treatise  is  in  the  same  handwriting, 
and  to  judge  by  the  preface  seems  also  to  have  been 
intended  for  publication,  Dr.  Meyer  supposes  that  Jelles 
had  this  also  translated  into  Dutch,  and  that  he  intended  to 
publish  it  together  with  the  Tractatm  Theologico-Politicus. 
He  even  conjectures  that  the  translations  were  made  by 
Dr.  Lodewijk  Meyer  ;  but  there  is  no  real  evidence  of  this. 

One  is  inclined  to  ask  whether  codex  A  may  not  be 
identical  with  the  manuscript  which  Rieuwertsz  is  reported 
to  have  shown  to  Stolle  and  Hallmann  in  1703.  But  the 
terms  of  the  report  make  it  uncertain  whether  that  manu 
script  purported  to  be  in  Spinoza's  own  handwriting  or  in 
that  of  the  bookseller's  father.  And,  in  any  case,  the  state 
ment,  in  the  preface  on  the  title-page,  that  the  Short  Treatise 
was  originally  written  in  Latin,  could  scarcely  have  escaped 
their  eyes,  and,  since  they  undoubtedly  report  that  the 
manuscript  was  in  Dutch  just  as  Spinoza  had  at  first  com 
posed  it,  the  probability  is  that  it  was  a  different  copy  which 
they  then  saw.  There  is  no  doubt,  however,  that  manu 
script  copies  of  the  Short  Treatise  were  extant,  among 
various  friends  and  readers  of  Spinoza,  at  the  end  of  the 
seventeenth  century,  and  codex  A  is  most  likely  one  of 
these  manuscripts. 

Both  A  and  B,  however,  purport  to  be  only  translations, 
or  copies  of  a  translation,  from  the  Latin,  and  not  copies  of 
a  Dutch  original.  This  is  also  confirmed  by  an  examination 
of  the  text  of  the  manuscripts,  which  contains  various 
mistakes  that  can  only  be  explained  on  the  supposition  that 
they  are  mistranslations  from  the  Latin.  Some  of  these 
will  be  indicated  in  the  notes. 


Again,  codex  A  cannot  be  the  original  copy  even  of  a 
translation,  because  it  contains  several  mistakes  which  can 
only  be  accounted  for  on  the  supposition  that  they  are  mis- 
readings  of  Dutch  words,  writing  (for  example)  alderwijste 
(wisest)  where  the  context  requires  aldervrijste  (freest).  And 
codex  B  has  far  too  much  in  common  with  A  to  be  regarded, 
with  any  plausibility,  as  giving  an  independent  translation 
of  the  Short  Treatise.  Prima  facie  the  most  plausible  sup 
position  is  that  A  is  itself  a  copy  of  an  older  manuscript, 
and  that  B  is  more  or  less  a  copy  of  A,  and  this  suggestion 
is  in  large  measure  also  confirmed  by  more  internal 


In  the  main,  both  manuscripts  give  practically  the  same 
translation  of  the  Short  Treatise,  although  there  are  numerous 
minor  differences,  most  of  which  are  indicated  in  the 
present  translation.  In  neatness  of  appearance  and  smooth 
ness  of  expression  B  is  very  much  superior  to  A.  In  A 
notes  and  additions  to  the  text  are  found  sometimes  all 
round  the  page — top  and  bottom,  and  to  the  left  and  right 
of  the  text.  Sometimes  it  is  difficult  to  know  which  is 
meant  to  be  text  and  which  is  meant  to  be  the  note.  In  B, 
on  the  other  hand,  the  arrangement  is  perfectly  clear  and 
neat.  Similar  differences  show  themselves  in  the  compo 
sition  of  the  two  manuscripts.  In  A  the  punctuation  is 
sometimes  absolutely  barbarous — there  are  whole  strings  of 
colons  and  semi-colons,  bringing  together  ideas  which  have 
no  real  connection,  while  at  other  times  full-stops  dis 
connect  what  should  have  been  connected.  Occasionally 
also  the  trouble  of  translating  technical  expressions  seems 
to  be  shirked,  and  they  are  simply  given  in  their  Latin 
form.  All  or  nearly  all  such  barbarisms  are  absent  from 


B — the  punctuation  is  quite  normal,  and  it  generally  trans 
lates  into  Dutch,  and  does  not  simply  reproduce,  such 
expressions  as  a  priori,  a  posteriori,  attributum,  essentia,  idea, 
&c.  Again,  in  A  the  second  part  of  the  Short  Treatise  has 
numerous  marginal  summaries  of  the  text,  in  addition  to 
the  explanatory  notes ;  B  omits  nearly  all  these  marginal 
summaries,  and  also  some  of  the  notes.  Apart  from  these 
relatively  external  differences  between  the  two  codices, 
there  are  also  more  important  differences  between  them. 
A  often  has  a  sentence  or  an  expression  which  B  omits  ;  on 
the  other  hand,  there  are  only  a  comparatively  few  cases  in 
which  B  has  any  important  sentence  or  expression  which  A 
has  not.  Again,  A  has  numerous  mistakes  which  are  not 
found  in  B  ;  on  the  other  hand,  there  are  extremely  few 
instances  in  which  a  passage  is  given  correctly  in  A  and 
wrongly  in  B.  Illustrations  of  all  this  will  be  found  in  the 
accompanying  translation  and  notes,  though  the  punctua 
tion  had  to  be  somewhat  improved  occasionally.  But  such, 
in  general  terms,  is  the  relation  between  the  two  manu 
scripts  of  the  Short  Treatise. 

What  may  reasonably  be  deduced  from  the  above  facts  ? 
Some  (Schaarschmidt,  for  instance)  are  inclined  to  mini 
mise  the  differences  between  A  and  B,  and  suggest  that  the 
improvements  on  A  in  B  were  made  more  or  less  arbi 
trarily  by  Monnikhoff,  who  had  no  other  manuscript  before 
him  except  A,  and  that  he  was  guided  simply  by  his  own 
common  sense  or  fastidious  taste,  as  the  case  may  be,  in 
making  the  numerous  alterations  in  his  own  copy.  A 
great  many  of  the  differences  between  A  and  B  might 
certainly  be  accounted  for  in  this  way.  Sigwart,  however, 
maintains  that  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  account  for  all  the 
differences  that  way  ;  and  he  inclines  to  the  belief  (rightly, 
we  think)  that  Monnikhoff  had  some  other  manuscript,* 
besides  A,  which  enabled  him  to  make  so  many  improve- 

*  This  hypothetical  third  MS.  is  generally  called  C. 


ments  on  A.  It  seems  clear,  however,  that  the  suggested 
other  manuscript  (if  Monnikhoff  really  had  another  to 
consult)  could  not  have  been  the  original  Latin  manuscript 
or  a  copy  of  it,  because  some  of  his  mistakes  would  have 
been  impossible  in  that  case.  Nor,  in  all  probability,  was 
it  even  an  independent  Dutch  translation  of  the  original, 
because  in  that  case  B  would  most  likely  not  have  had  so 
very  much  in  common  with  A  as  it  actually  has.  That 
Monnikhoff  might  have  consulted  another  Dutch  manu 
script  of  the  Short  Treatise  (besides  A)  seems  likely  from  the 
fact  that  Rieuwertsz,  for  instance,  had  such  another  Dutch 
manuscript  (as  Hallmann  reports),  and  there  may  have  been 
also  others  in  Amsterdam,  where  Monnikhoff  lived.  At  the 
same  time,  it  is  just  possible  that  Monnikhoff  had  only 
codex  A  before  him,  and  that  his  own  critical  insight  enabled 
him  to  make  the  various  corrections  and  improvements. 


Even  a  cursory  examination  of  the  Short  Treatise  shows 
that  it  is  not  a  homogeneous  whole,  bat  a  complex  of  parts 
in  which  a  closer  scrutiny  reveals  different  strata  of  thought 
representing  different  stages  of  development.  Compara 
tively  external  differences  suffice  to  enable  us  to  distinguish 
four  separate  parts  in  the  Short  Treatise,  namely  : 

(i)  the  bulk  of  the  text  of  the  treatise  (both  parts)  ; 

(ii)  the  so-called  foot-notes  or  marginal  additions ; 
(Hi)  the  two  dialogues  at  the  end  of  Part  I .  chapter  ii. ;  and 
(iv)  the  so-called  Appendices  at  the  end  of  the  treatise. 

It  may  be  remarked  at  once  that  no  one  seriously 
doubts  that  the  Short  Treatise  as  a  whole  is  the  work  of 


Spinoza.  The  only  portions  the  authenticity  of  which  may 
be  doubted  are  some  of  the  notes.  Many  of  the  notes  to 
Part  II.  in  A  are  evidently  mere  marginal  summaries  which 
were  not  made  by  Spinoza,  and  nearly  all  of  them  were 
omitted  by  Monnikhoff,  no  doubt  for  this  very  reason. 
They  have  also  been  omitted  from  all  the  published 
editions  and  translations  of  the  Short  Treatise.  Some  of  the 
remaining  notes  (or  additions)  are  also  probably  from  some 
other  hand  than  Spinoza's,  and  so  is  the  preface  on  the 
title-page  of  A.  Most  of  the  long  notes,  however,  are 
certainly  Spinoza's  own,  and  Monnikhoff  says  so  expressly 
on  the  extra  title-page  which  he  wrote  in  codex  A  (which 
has  already  been  cited  above),  while  the  "Outline"  in 
Boehmer's  Colerus  states  explicitly  that  Spinoza  had  added 
notes  in  further  explanation  and  elaboration  of  his  views. 
And  the  rest  of  the  Short  Treatise  is  Spinoza's  beyond  a 
doubt.  The  above-mentioned  traditions  about  his  Dutch 
Ethics  with  a  chapter  on  the  Devil,  and  passages  in  his 
letters,  to  which  we  shall  refer  when  we  try  to  determine  the 
date  of  its  composition,  sufficiently  confirm  the  authorship 
of  Spinoza  which  is  claimed  on  the  title-page  of  both  the 

But,  though  Spinoza  wrote  the  whole  of  the  Short 
Treatise  (excepting  the  suspicious  notes)  as  we  now  have 
it,  he  evidently  did  not  write  it  all  at  the  same  time.  What 
we  have  before  us  is  a  first  draft  together  with  successive 
attempts  to  correct,  or  supplement,  or  reconcile  various 
parts  of  it.  The  bulk  of  the  text  represents  that  first  draft. 
The  chapters  are  strung  together  more  or  less  loosely ; 
inconsistencies  of  thought  or  of  expression  are  not  yet 
removed.  Some  of  the  so-called  notes  or  marginal  additions 
are  really  new  versions  of  the  corresponding  text,  which 
Spinoza  apparently  meant  to  rewrite.  They  often  represent 
a  distinct  advance  in  thought,  bridging  over  the  gulf  be 
tween  the  text  of  the  Treatise  and  the  Ethics.  The  Dialogues 


elaborate  special  points,  while  assuming  what  has  already 
been  explained  in  other  parts  of  the  Treatise.  Like  the  first 
Appendix,  they  also  represent  an  experiment  in  the  form  of 
exposition.  Spinoza  evidently  realised  very  quickly  that  his 
was  not  the  art  of  writing  Platonic  dialogues.  The  second 
Appendix  is  concerned  with  the  elaboration  of  a  special 
point.  The  first,  as  already  stated,  is  an  experiment  in  the 
geometric  form  of  exposition,  and  is  intimately  related  to 
the  Ethics.  The  Treatise  shows  us  Spinoza  in  his  workshop 
gradually  shaping  the  material  for  his  great  edifice.  It  is, 
of  course,  all  the  more  interesting  for  that.  But  it  is  prac 
tically  impossible  to  determine  precisely  the  chronological 
sequence  of  its  parts.  At  one  time  it  was  supposed  that  the 
Dialogues  were  the  oldest  parts  of  the  Treatise.  Freuden- 
thal,  however,  has  shown  that  they  must  have  been  written 
after  the  main  text  of  the  Treatise  because  they  assume  a 
knowledge  of  various  views  already  explained  in  other  parts 
of  the  work.  Thus  all  that  may  be  asserted  with  confidence 
is  that  the  notes,  the  Dialogues,  and  the  Appendices  are 
later  than  the  rest  of  the  Treatise.  It  is  also  possible  to 
determine  which  parts  of  the  work  were  the  last  additions. 
Detailed  information  relating  to  these  questions  will  be 
found  in  the  Commentary.  But  it  is  important  to  note 
immediately  that  we  are  dealing  with  a  book  which  was 
never  properly  prepared  for  publication,  Spinoza  having 
finally  determined  to  recast  the  exposition  of  his  philosophy 
in  the  geometric  form,  as  we  have  it  in  the  Ethics.  The 
present  arrangement  of  the  Treatise  is  probably  due  in  part 
to  one  of  his  disciples,  whose  insight  was  not  sufficient  to 
guard  him  against  misplacing  some  parts,  omitting  others, 
and  retaining  passages  which  were  meant  to  be  discarded. 
Occasionally  also  readers'  comments  seem  to  have  found 
their  way  into  the  text  through  the  copyist's  lack  of  dis 



It  is  difficult  to  determine  with  any  precision  when  the 
Short  Treatise  was  begun,  but  it  is  comparatively  easy  to 
determine  when  it  was  already  completed.  About  the  end 
of  1661  Spinoza  wrote  to  Oldenburg,  saying,  "as  regards 
your  new  question,  namely,  in  what  manner  things  began 
to  exist,  and  what  is  the  bond  of  dependence  between  them 
and  the  first  cause,  on  this  subject,  and  also  on  the  improve 
ment  of  the  understanding,  I  have  written  a  complete  little 
treatise,  and  am  at  present  engaged  in  copying  and  improv 
ing  it.  Sometimes,  however,  I  put  the  work  aside,  for  I  am 
not  yet  sure  about  publishing  it.  I  fear  lest  the  theologians 
of  our  day  should  take  offence,  and,  with  their  usual 
rancour,  attack  me,  who  have  an  absolute  horror  of 
quarrels."  It  is  clear  from  this  that  the  Treatise  on  the 
Improvement  of  the  Understanding  was  already  sufficiently 
advanced  for  Spinoza  to  think  of  its  early  publication.  But 
this  cannot  be  the  only  treatise  to  which  Spinoza  here  refers, 
because  it  contains  nothing  about  the  origin  of  things  and 
their  dependence  on  the  first  cause,  with  which  this  little 
treatise,  to  which  Spinoza  refers,  is  primarily  concerned, 
nor  does  it  contain  anything  to  warrant  Spinoza's  evident 
apprehension  that  it  would  provoke  the  rancour  of  the 
theologians.  Spinoza  can  only  be  referring,  in  this  letter, 
to  our  Short  Treatise,  the  style  and  contents  of  which  prove 
it  to  be  an  earlier  work  than  the  Treatise  on  the  Improvement 
of  the  Understanding.  The  Short  Treatise  must  have  been 
already  finished  when  Spinoza  wrote  the  above  letter  to 
Oldenburg,  but  owing  to  his  recent  occupation  with  Bacon 
and  the  question  of  philosophic  method,  which  he  had  also 
discussed  with  Oldenburg,  he  seems  to  have  begun  the 
Treatise  on  the  Improvement  of  the  Understanding  with  the 

i  2 


intention  of  using  it  as  a  general  introduction  to  his  whole 
philosophy  as  contained  for  the  most  part  in  the  Short 
Treatise.  The  opening  passages  of  the  former  treatise, 
already  quoted  above,*  are  hardly  appropriate  as  an 
introduction  to  a  mere  theory  of  knowledge,  they  refer 
rather  to  philosophy  as  a  whole.  Spinoza's  growing  pre 
ference  for  the  geometric  method,  and  his  successful 
experiment  in  applying  it  to  Descartes'  Principia,  also  the 
gradual  modification  of  some  of  his  views,  soon  led  him  to 
begin  a  new  exposition  of  his  philosophy,  such  as  he  even 
tually  gave  in  the  Ethica.  And  the  Short  Treatise  thus  fell 
into  neglect.  But  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  it  was  already 
completed  in  1661,  possibly  already  the  year  before,  if  we 
allow  for  the  Treatise  on  the  Improvement  of  the  Understand 
ing,  which,  though  a  fragment  now  and  probably  even  more 
fragmentary  then,  must  nevertheless  have  taken  him  some 
time  to  write. 

The  main  text  of  the  Short  Treatise,  then,  must  have  been 
written  not  later  than  1661.  It  seems  equally  clear  that  it 
could  not  have  been  finished  before  1660 — that  is  to  say, 
before  Spinoza's  removal  to  Rijnsburg.  The  reason  for  this 
suggestion  is  to  be  found  in  the  concluding  paragraph  of 
the  Second  Part  of  the  Treatise^  It  is  really  an  epistle 
addressed  to  his  friends,  to  whom  he  is  sending  the 
entire  manuscript  of  the  Short  Treatise  (before  the 
Appendices  were  written).  And  its  tone  and  contents 
strongly  suggest  that  it  was  written  to  friends  at  a  distance. 
Who  these  friends  were  it  is  not  difficult  to  conjecture. 
They  were  Balling,  Jelles,  Meyer,  and  the  other  members  of 
the  philosophical  coterie  to  whom  Spinoza  subsequently 
also  sent  the  completed  portions  of  the  Ethica  in  manu 
script.  His  friends,  then,  were  in  Amsterdam.  Had 
Spinoza  still  been  living  in  or  near  Amsterdam,  it  would 
scarcely  have  been  necessary  for  him  to  write  that  exhor- 

*  See  pp.  liii.  ff.  f  See  pp.  149  /. 


tation.  It  must,  therefore,  have  been  written  when 
Spinoza  had  already  left  Amsterdam  and  its  neighbour 
hood,  and  had  gone  to  Rijnsburg.  And  this  happened 
early  in  1660. 

We  would  maintain,  accordingly,  that  the  Short  Treatise 
was  not  finished  before  1660.  But,  as  already  suggested,  it 
was  probably  commenced  very  much  earlier  than  that. 
Many  or  most  of  its  chapters  very  likely  contain  the  sub 
stance  of  the  notes  which  Spinoza  dictated  to  his  disciples 
while  teaching  at  Amsterdam.  This  seems  to  be  borne  out, 
to  some  extent,  by  a  marginal  summary  at  the  side  of  the 
above-mentioned  concluding  paragraph  of  the  Treatise.* 
This  note  seems  to  have  been  put  there  by  a  disciple  of 
Spinoza,  and  speaks  of  the  Treatise  as  having  been  dictated, 
while  the  text  says  that  it  was  written.  Very  likely  a  good 
portion  of  the  Treatise  had  actually  been  dictated  to  his 
friends  while  Spinoza  was  at  Amsterdam,  but  the  com 
pleted  Treatise  must  have  been  sent  to  them  in  manuscript 
from  Rijnsburg. 

Avenarius  has  suggested  that  the  Short  Treatise  was  quite 
a  youthful  work  ;  that  the  Dialogues  were  written  about 
1651,  and  the  main  text  in  1654  or  1655.  The  suggestion 
was  largely  based  on  the  assumption  that  the  Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus  was  finished  in  1661  or  earlier.  But  it 
is  known  now  that  Spinoza  did  not  complete  it  till  1669  or 
1670.  The  comparative  immaturity  of  the  Short  Treatise  as 
compared  with  it  does  not  therefore  compel  us  to  assume 
that  the  Treatise  was  written  long  before  1661.  And  the 
internal  evidence  is  against  such  an  early  date  as  1655. 
The  tone  of  the  concluding  paragraph  of  Part  II.  shows 
that,  when  writing  it,  Spinoza  had  already  acquired  a 
certain  authority  in  a  circle  of  philosophical  friends.  He 
could  not  have  written  in  that  strain  at  the  age  of  22  or  23. 
Again,  his  reference  to  the  "  character  of  the  age  "  seems  to 

*  See  the  first  note  on  p.  149. 


point  to  his  own  excommunication  as  an  event  in  the  past. 
Moreover,  the  Treatise  shows  an  interest  in  specific  Christian 
doctrines  and  their  reinterpretation  (the  son  of  God, 
Regeneration,  Sin  in  relation  to  the  Law,  and  Grace). 
Spinoza  must  have  been  moving  for  some  time  in  a 
Christian  environment  to  feel  such  an  interest  in  problems 
of  Christian  theology.  The  characters  he  introduces  as 
illustrations  bear  New  Testament  names,  and  he  even 
devotes  a  chapter  to  Devils,  in  whom  the  Jews  took  very 
little  interest.  All  this  argues  in  favour  of  the  supposition 
that  the  Short  Treatise  was  not  written  till  some  years  after 
Spinoza's  severance  from  the  Jewish  community  (1656). 
Freudenthal  maintains,  accordingly,  that  it  must  have  been 
composed  between  1658  and  1660.  With  this  view  we 
concur,  allowing,  however,  that  some  of  the  additions  may 
be  later  than  1660,  while  some  parts  of  the  Treatise  or 
some  of  its  views  may  date  from  before  Spinoza's  excom 
munication,  because  one  of  the  charges  already  brought 
against  him  then  was  that  he  had  asserted  that  extension 
was  an  attribute  of  God. 

It  is  interesting  to  note,  in  conclusion,  that  when  Spinoza 
made  his  literary  debut  he  was  already  a  pantheist.  His 
pantheism  was  not  in  any  sense  a  development  of  Carte- 
sianism  ;  he  started  from  it,  and  at  once  criticised  the  Car 
tesian  dualism  from  that  point  of  view.  He  probably  owed  his 
introduction  to  pantheistic  views  partly  to  Jewish  mysticism, 
with  which  he  must  have  been  made  acquainted  by  Rabbis 
Morteira  and  Ben  Israel,  who  were  both  of  them  strongly 
inclined  towards  mysticism,  and  partly  to  Bruno,  to  whose 
writings,  as  already  suggested,  Van  den  Enden  may  have 
directed  his  attention.  The  Short  Treatise  shows  also 
considerable  familiarity  with,  and  indebtedness  to,  the 
writings  of  Descartes,  as  will  be  shown  in  the  Commentary. 
But  Spinoza  is  never  merely  a  follower  of  the  Jewish 
Mystics,  or  of  Bruno,  or  of  Descartes.  From  the  first  he 


has  his  own  peculiar  outlook.  From  the  first  he  is,  so  to 
say,  his  own  architect,  though  he  obtains  his  bricks  from 
many  different  quarters. 



W.  Meyer  :  Korte  Verhandeling  (a  modern  Dutch  version  > 
also  a  new  edition  of  Boehmer's  Lineamenta) .  Amster 
dam,  1899. 

C.  Schaarschmidt  :  Benedicti  de  Spinoza  "  Korte  Verhandeling 
van  God  ..."  (Dutch  text  and  Latin  introduction). 
Amsterdam,  1869. 

Spinoza' s Kurzgefasste  Abhandung  (German  translation). 
Third  edition,  Leipzig,  1907. 

C.  Sigwart  :  Spinoza's  Kurzer  Tractat  (German  translation 
with  Introduction  and  Notes).  Freiburg,  1870. 

].  Van  Vloten  :  Ad  Benedicti  de  Spinoza  Opera  .  .  .  Supple- 
mentum  (Dutch  text  with  Latin  translation).  Amster 
dam,  1862. 

Van  Vloten  and  Land's  edition  of  Spinoza's  complete  works 
gives  the  text  in  vol.  ii.  of  the  1882  edition,  and  in 
vol.  iii.  of  the  1895  edition. 


R.  Avenarius  :  Ueber  die  beiden  erst  en  Phasen  des  Spinozischen 

Pantheismus.     Leipzig,  1868. 

A.  Baltzer  :  Spinoza's  Entwickelungsgang.     Kiel,  1888. 
E.  Boehmer  :   Benedicti  de  Spinoza  Tractatus  de  Deo  .  .  . 

Lineamenta.     Halle,  1852. 
L.    Busse :    Beitriige  zur   Entwickelungsgeschichte    Spinozas. 



J.  Freudenthal :  Spinoza  und  die  Scholastik  (in  the  "  Philo- 

sophische   Anfsatze"   dedicated   to   Zeller).      Leipzig, 


Spinozastudien    ("Zeitschrift    fiir    Philosophic,"   vols. 

108,  109).     1896. 

Ueber   die    Entwicklung   der    Lehre    vom    psychophysi- 

schen  Parallelismus  bei  Spinoza  ("Archiv  fiir  gesamte 

Psychologic,"  ix.).     1907. 
C.  Gebhardt :    Spinozas  Abhandlung  ueber  die  Verbesserung 

des  Verstandes.     Heidelberg,  1905. 

M.  Joel :  Zur  Genesis  der  Lehre  Spinozas.     Breslau,  1871. 
C.  Sigwart :  Spinozas  neuentdeckter  Tractat.     Gotha,  1866. 
A.  Trendelenburg  :  Ueber  die  aufgefundenen  Ergdnzungen  zu 

Spinozas  Werken  (in  "  Historische  Beitrage,"  vol.  iii.). 

Berlin,  1867. 

Various  references  to  the  Short  Treatise  occur  also  in  the 
following  more  general  works  on  the  life  or  the  philosophy 
of  Spinoza  : 
R.   A.    Duff :   Spinoza  s   Political    and   Ethical  Philosophy. 

Glasgow,  1903. 

K.  Fischer  :  Spinoza.     4th  ed.     Heidelberg,  1898. 
J.    Freudenthal  :    Die  Lebensgeschichte    Spinozas.     Leipzig, 

1899.     Das  Leben  Spinozas.     Stuttgart,  1904. 
H.  H.  Joachim  :  A  Study  of  the  Ethics  of  Spinoza.     Oxford, 


J.  Martineau  :  A  Study  of  Spinoza.    3rd  ed.     London,  1895. 
Sir  F.  Pollock  :  Spinoza.     2nd  ed.     London,  1899. 
E.  E.  Powell :  Spinoza  and  Religion.     Chicago,  1906. 
A.  Rivaud  :  Les  Notions  d'Essence   et   d'E%istence  dans  la 

Philo sophie  de  Spinoza.     Paris,  1906. 


A    stands  for  the  older  manuscript  of  the  Short  Treatise. 

B    stands  for  the  later  manuscript  of  the  Short  Treatise. 

Where  nothing  is  stated  to  the  contrary  the  Translation  follows  A. 

*.   .   .*     Words,  &c.,  between  asterisks  are  in  B,  but  not  in  A. 

[          ]     Words  in  square  brackets  are  those  of  the  translator ;  but 

]*     When  there  are  asterisks  outside  the   brackets,  then  B 
has  the  words  in  such  brackets. 

f    is  used  as  a  reference-mark  to  notes  which  are  given  in  A. 

I  is  used  as  a  reference-mark  to  notes  indicating  different 
readings,  &c. 

"  .  .  .  "  Occasionally  words  are  put  in  inverted  commas  to  draw 
attention  to  the  fact  that  they  are  used  in  a  peculiar  sense. 

Explanations  of  difficult  words  and  passages  will  be  found  at  the 
end  of  the  volume  (p.  165  ff)  arranged  according  to  chapter 
and  page. 

Beginners  may  omit,  on  a  first  reading,  most  ot  the  foot-notes  in 
the  Translation. 




Previously  written  in  the  Latin  tongue 
by   B.D.S.   for   the   use   of  his   disciples 
who  wanted  to  devote  themselves  to  the 
study    of   Ethics    and    true    Philosophy. 
And  now  translated  into  the  Dutch  lan 
guage  for  the  use  of  the  Lovers  of  Truth 
and  Virtue  :  so  that  they  who  spout  so 
much   about   it,   and  put  their  dirt  and 
filth    into    the    hands    of    simpletons    as 
though  it  were  ambergris,  may  just  have 
their  mouths  stopped,  and  cease  to  pro 
fane  what    they    do   not   understand  : 
God,  themselves ,  and  how  to  help  people 
to  have  regard  for  each  other's  well- 
being^   and   how   to   heal   those 
whose  mind   is  sick,  in  a 
spirit  of  tenderness  and 
tolerance,    after    the 
example  of  the  Lord 
Christ,   our   best 

Vikfrj^Sa  w^#6^oWy?\T»\t  Ck^<kV&Wfl 

<^$%>l*$  Hwx$y  *A  wGDr&H***  ^W4- 
s€-l ,  "  -^ 







I.   OF  GOD'S  EXISTENCE,  and  Attributes 

II.  OF  MAN,  with  reference  to  the 
character  and  origin  of  his  Passions, 
the  use  of  his  reason  in  this  respect, 
and  the  means  whereby  he  is  edu 
cated  to  his  Happiness  and  supreme 

ALSO  AN  APPENDIX,  containing  a  brief 
account  of  the  nature  of  Substance 
— as  well  as  that  of  the  human 
Soul,  and  its  union  with  the  Body 




OL^U-OC-e^xC.Of     tAAfK£_CX 

1  .        V~OU\K—  Cf-o-cl*?  v-tLj&Zl^&M  _  / 

WULM-JV-tSfa      y      Z^L- 







II.  WHAT  GOD  is  21 








IX.  ON  "  NATURA  NATURATA  "  57 







[PREFACE]  63 



|  B  has  no  Table  of  Contents 






EVIL  OF  MAN  74 

V.  ON  LOVE  78 

VI.  ON  HATRED  82 








XIV.  ON  GRIEF  99 

XVI.  ON  THE  WILL  105 








XXV.  ON  DEVILS  143 


[APPENDIX    I.]  ON  GOD  153 



A  ~         f 

c*Z/JtjCJZ~  i 





Cm  natujra,Deus,rerum  ciu  cog-mtus  ordo 
Hoc  Spinola  ftalru  coiifpicieiidus    erat. 

Expreflere  viri  faciein.ietl  pm^ere  mentetn 
Zettxidis   artifices    non  valwere  itianvis. 

Ilia   vi^ei      Tcnplis  :  illic  luDlimia  tractat: 
Huiicquicun^uecupis  nofcere.fci-ipta  leg-e . 



*  -'^11 

CM^OA-t-ic    *,'*V»<-vY/7       >^r/  kfltlieSl     H>4  * 

[FIRST   PAGE   OF   A] 


"tCo-UlMLJkM--    <*sy     e-e-TC      TMjut— 



As  regards  the  first,!  namely,  whether  there  is  a  God,  this, 
we  say,  can  be  proved. 

*!.*  In  the  first  place,  a  priori  thus  : 

1.  Whatever  we   clearly  and   distinctly  know   to 

belong  to  the  nature  t  of  a  thing,  we  can  also 
truly  affirm  of  that  thing.  Now  we  can  know 
clearly  and  distinctly  that  existence  belongs 
to  the  nature  of  God  ;  10 

Therefore  .  .  . 
Otherwise  also  thus  :  tt 

2.  The  essence  of   things  are   from   all   eternity, 

and  unto  all  eternity  shall  remain  im 
mutable  ; 

The  existence  of  God  is  essence  ; 
Therefore  .  .  . 

t  Understand  the  definite  nature  through  which  a  thing  is  what 
it  is,  and  which  can  by  no  means  be  removed  from  it  without 
at  the  same  time  destroying  that  thing :  thus,  for  instance,  it  20 
belongs  to  the  essence  of  a  mountain  that  it  should  have  a 
valley,  or  the  essence  of  a  mountain  is  that  it  has  a  valley ;  JJ| 
this  is  truly  eternal  and  immutable,  and  must  always  be  included 
in  the  concept  of  a  mountain,  even  if  it  never  existed,  or  did  not 
exist  now. 

t  B:  this. 

It  B  omits  these  three  words. 

JJt  B  simply:   to  the  essence  of  a  mountain  belongs  a  valley. 



i       *IL*  A  posteriori,  thus  : 

If  man  has  an  idea  of  God,  then  God  f  must  exist 
formaliter ; 

Now,  man  has  an  idea  of  God  ; 
Therefore  .  .  . 

The  first  we  prove  thus  : 

If  there  is  an  idea  of  God,  then  the  cause  thereof 
must  exist  formaliter,  and  contain  in  itself  all 
that  the  idea  has  objective  ; 
10  Now  there  is  an  idea  of  God  ; 

Therefore  .  .  . 

In  order  to  prove  the  first  part  of  this  argument  we  state 
the  following  principles,  namely  : 

1.  That    the    number    of    knowable   things    is  in 

finite  ; 

2.  That  a  finite  understanding  cannot  apprehend 

the  infinite  ; 

3.  That  a  finite  understanding,  unless  it  is  deter 

mined  by  something  external,  cannot  through 

20  itself  know  anything  ;  because,  just  as  it  has 

no  power  to  know  all  things  equally,  so  little 

f  From  the  definition  which  follows  in  chapter  2,  namely,  that 
God  has  infinite  attributes,  we  can  prove  his  existence  thus : 
Whatever  we  clearly  and  distinctly  see  to  belong  to  the  nature  of 
a  thing,  that  we  can  also  with  truth  affirm  of  that  thing ;  now  to 
the  nature  of  a  being  that  has  infinite  attributes  belongs  existence, 
which  is  an  attribute ;  therefore  .  .  .  To  assert  that  this  may  well 
be  affirmed  of  the  idea,  but  not  of  the  thing  itself,  is  false :  for  the 
Idea  does  not  really  consist  of  the  attribute  which  belongs  to  this 
30  being,  so  that  that  which  is  affirmed  is  [affirmed]  neither  of  the 
thing,  nor  of  that  which  is  affirmed  of  the  thing ;  so  that  there  is  a 
great  difference  between  the  Idea  and  the  Ideatum :  therefore 
what  is  affirmed  of  the  thing  is  not  affirmed  of  the  Idea,  and 
vice  versa.  [Text  corrupt.  See  Commentary.] 


also  has  it  the  power  to  begin  or  to  commence  i 
to  know  this,  for  instance,!  sooner  than  that, 
or  that  sooner  than  this.     Since,  then,  it  can 
do  neither  the  one  nor  the  other  it  can  know 
The  first  (or  the  major  premiss)  is  proved  thus  : 

If  the  imagination  of  man  were  the  sole  cause  of 
his  ideas,  then  it  would  be  impossible  that  he 
should  be  able  to  apprehend  anything,  but  he 
can  apprehend  something  ;  10 

Therefore  .  .  . 

The  first  Jt  is  proved  by  the  first  principle,  namely,  that 
the  knowable  things  are  infinitely  numerous.  Also,  following 
the  second  principle,  man  cannot  know  all,  because  the 
human  understanding  is  finite,  and  if  not  determined  by 
external  things  to  know  this  sooner  than  that,  and  that 
sooner  than  this,  then  according  to  the  third  principle  it 
should  be  impossible  for  it  to  know  anything.! 

J  B  omits  "  for  instance." 

Jt  Instead  of  this  paragraph  B  has  the  following :  Again,  since  20 
according  to  the  first  principle  the  knowable  things  are  infinite,  and 
according  to  the  second  principle  the  finite  understanding  cannot 
comprehend  everything,  and  according  to  the  third  principle  it  has 
not  the  power  to  know  this  sooner  than  that,  and  that  sooner  than 
this,  it  would  be  impossible  for  it  to  know  anything,  if  it  were  not 
determined  thereto  by  external  things. 

t  Further,  to  say  that  this  idea  is  a  fiction,  this  also  is  false :  for 
it  is  impossible  to  have  this  [idea]  if  it  [the  ideatum\  does  not  exist ; 
this  is  shown  on  page  16,  and  we  also  add  the  following  : 

It  is  quite  true  that  when  an  idea  has  first  come  to  us  from  a  30 
particular  thing,  and  we  have  generalised  it  in  abstracto,  then  our 
understanding  may  fancy  various  things  about  it,  and  we  can  add 
to  it  many  other  attributes  abstracted  from  other  things.  But  it  is 
impossible  to  do  this  without  a  prior  knowledge  of  the  things  them 
selves  from  which  these  abstractions  have  been  made.  Once,  how 
ever,  it  is  assumed  that  this  idea  [of  God]  is  a  fiction,  then  all  other 


i  From  all  this  the  second  point  is  proved,  namely,  that 
the  cause  of  a  man's  ideas  is  not  his  imagination  but 
some  external  cause,  which  compels  him  to  apprehend  one 
thing  sooner  than  another,  and  it  is  no  other  than  this,  that 
the  things  whose  essentia  objectiva  is  in  his  understanding 
exist  formaliter,  and  are  nearer  to  him  than  other  things. 
If,  then,  man  has  the  idea  of  God,  it  is  clear  that  God 
must  exist  formaliter,  though  not  eminenter,  as  there  is 

ideas  that  we  have  must  be  fictions  no  less.     If  this  is  so,  whence 
10  comes  it  that  we  find  such  a  great  difference  among  them  ?     For  as 
regards  some  we  see  that  it  is  impossible  they  should  exist ;  e.g.,  all 
monsters   supposed  to  be  composed  of  two  natures,  such  as  an 
animal  that  should  be  both  a  bird  and  a  horse,  and  the  like,  for 
which  it  is  impossible  to  have  a  place  in  Nature,  which  we  find 
differently  constituted ;  J    other  ideas  may,   but    need  not,  exist ; 
whether,  however,  they  exist  or  do  not  exist,  their  essence  is  always 
necessary ;  such  is  the  idea  of  a  triangle,  and  that  of  the  love  in  the 
soul  apart  from  the  body,  &c.  ;  so  that  even  if  I  at  first  thought 
that  I  had  imagined  these,  I  am  nevertheless  compelled  afterwards 
20  to  say  that  they  are,  and  would  be,  the  same  no  less  even  if  neither 
I  nor  anybody  had  ever  thought  about  them.     They  are,  conse 
quently,  not  merely  imagined  by  me,  and  must  also  have  outside 
me  a  subjectum  other  than  myself,  without  which  subjectum  they 
cannot  be.     In  addition  to  these  there  is  yet  a  third  idea,  and  it  is 
an  only  one  ;  this  one  carries  with  it  necessary  existence,  and  not, 
like  the  foregoing,  the  mere  possibility  of  existence :    for,  in  the 
case  of  those,  their  essence  was  indeed  necessary,  but  not  their 
existence,  while  in  its  case,  both  its  existence  and  its  essence  are 
necessary,  and  it  is  nothing  without  them.     I  therefore  see  now 
3°   that  the  truth,  essence,  or  existence  of  anything  never  depends  on 
me :  for,  as  was  shown  with  reference  to  the  second  kind  of  ideas, 
they  are  what  they  are  independently  of  me,  whether  as  regards 
their  essence  alone,  or  as  regards  both  essence  and  existence.     I 
find  this  to  be  true  also,  indeed  much  more  so,  of  this  third  unique 

J  In  B  the  whole  of  this  first  part  of  the  note  is  given  in  the  body  of 
the  text,  while  the  rest  is  given  as  a  note  on  "  other  ideas,"  eight  lines 


nothing  more  real  or  more  excellent  beside  or  outside  him.  r 
Now,  that  man  has  the  idea  of  God,  this  is  clear,  because  he 
knows  his  attributes,!  which  attributes  cannot  be  derived 
from  [man]  himself,  because  he  is  imperfect.  And  that  he 
knows  these  attributes  is  evident  from  this,  namely,  that  he 
knows  that  the  infinite  cannot  be  obtained  by  putting  together 
divers  finite  parts  ;  that  there  cannot  be  two  t  infinites,  but 

idea ;  not  only  does  it  not  depend  on  me,  but,  on  the  contrary,  he 
alone  tt  must  be  the  subjectum  of  that  which  I  affirm  of  him.  Con 
sequently,  if  he  did  not  exist,  I  should  not  be  able  to  assert  anything  10 
at  all  about  him ;  although  this  can  be  done  in  the  case  of  other 
things,  even  when  they  do  not  exist.  He  must  also  be,  indeed,  the 
subjectum  of  all  other  things. 

From  what  has  been  said  so  far  it  is  clearly  manifest  that  the  idea 
of  infinite  attributes  in  the  perfect  being  is  no  fiction ;  we  shall, 
however,  still  add  the  following  : 

According  to  the  foregoing  consideration  of  Nature,  we  have  so 
far  not  been  able  to  discover  more  than  two  attributes  only  which 
belong  to  this  all-perfect  being.  And  these  give  us  nothing  adequate 
to  satisfy  us  that  this  is  all  of  which  this  perfect  being  consists,  20 
quite  the  contrary,  we  find  in  us  a  something  which  openly  tells  us 
not  only  of  more,  but  of  infinite  perfect  attributes,  which  must 
belong  to  this  perfect  being  before  he  can  be  said  to  be  perfect. 
And  whence  comes  this  idea  of  perfection  ?  This  something  cannot 
be  the  outcome  of  these  two  [attributes]  :  tor  two  can  only  yield 
two,  and  not  an  infinity.  Whence  then  ?  From  myself,  never ; 
else  I  must  be  able  to  give  what  I  did  not  possess.  Whence,  then, 
but  from  the  infinite  attributes  themselves  which  tell  us  that  they 
are,  without  however  telling  us,  at  the  same  time,  what  they  are : 
for  only  of  two  do  we  know  what  they  are.  30 

t  His  attributes ;  it  is  better  [to  say],  because  he  knows  what  is 
proper  to  God ;  for  these  things  [infinity,  perfection,  &c.]  are  no 
attributes  of  God.  Without  these,  indeed,  God  could  not  be  God, 
but  it  is  not  through  them  [that  he  is  God],  since  they  show  nothing 
substantial,  but  are  only  like  adjectives  which  require  substantives 
or  their  explanation. 

I  B  omits  "  two." 

tt  B  omits  "alone." 


i  only  one ;  that  it  is  perfect  and  immutable,  for  we  know 
that  nothing  seeks,  of  itself,  its  own  annihilation,  and  also 
that  it  cannot  change  into  anything  better,t  because  it  is 
perfect,  which  it  would  not  be  in  that  case,  or  also  that  such 
a  being  cannot  be  subjected  to  anything  outside  it,  since  it 
is  omnipotent,  and  so  forth. 

From  all  this,  then,  it  follows  clearly  that  we  can  prove 
both  a  priori  and  a  posteriori  that  God  exists.  Better,  in 
deed,  a  priori.  For  things  which  are  proved  in  the  latter 
10  way  [a  posteriori]  must  be  proved  through  their  external 
causes,  which  is  a  manifest  imperfection  t  in  them,  inas 
much  as  they  cannot  make  themselves  known  H  through 
themselves,  but  only  through  external  causes.  God,  how 
ever,  who  is  the  first  cause  of  all  things,  and  also  the  cause 
of  himself  [causa  sui~\,  makes  himself  known  through  him 
self.  Hence  one  need  not  attach  much  importance  to  the 
saying  of  Thomas  Aquinas,  namely,  that  God  could  not  be 
proved  a  priori  because  he,  forsooth,  has  no  cause. 

f  The  cause  of  this  change  would  have  to  be  either  outside,  or 
20  in  it.     It  cannot  be  outside,  because  no  substance  which,  like  this, 
exists  through  itself  depends  on  anything  outside  it ;  therefore  it  is 
not  subject  to  change  through  it.     Nor  can  it  be  in  it :  because  no 
thing,  much  less  this,  desires  its  own  undoing  •  all  undoing  comes 
from  outside.     *Again,  that  there  can  be   no  finite  substance  is 
clear  from  this,  because  in  that  case  it  would  necessarily  have  to 
have  something  which  it  had  from  nothing :  which  is  impossible ; 
for  whence  has  it  that  wherein  it  differs  from  God  ?     Certainly  not 
from  God ;  for  he  has  nothing  imperfect  or  finite,  &c. :  whence, 
therefore,  but  from  nothing  ?  * 
30       J  B  :  an  extreme  imperfection. 
Jt  B  omits  "  known." 


WHAT    GOD    IS 

Now  that  we  have  proved  above  that  God  is,  it  is  time  to 
show  what  he  is.  Namely,  we  say  that  he  is  a  being  of 
whom  all  or  infinite  attributes  are  predicated,^  of  which  attri 
butes  every  one  is  infinitely  perfect  in  its  kind.  Now,  in  order 
to  express  our  views  clearly,  we  shall  premise  the  four 
following  propositions  : 

i.    That  there  is   no  finite  substance, tt  but  that  every 
substance  must  be  infinitely  perfect  in  its  kind,  that  is  to   10 
say,  that  in  the  infinite  understanding  of  God  no  substance 
can   be   more   perfect   than   that   which   already  exists   in 

t  The  reason  is  this,  since  Nothing  can  have  no  attributes,  the 
All  must  have  all  attributes  ;  and  just  as  Nothing  has  no  attribute 
because  it  is  Nothing,  so  that  which  is  Something  has  attributes 
because  it  is  Something.  Hence,  the  more  it  is  Something,  the 
more  attributes  it  must  have,  and  consequently  God  being  the 
most  perfect,  and  all  that  is  Anything,  he  must  also  have  infinite, 
perfect,  and  all  attributes.  ° 

ft  Once  we  can  prove  that  there  can  be  no  Finite  Substance^ 
then  zK  substance  must  without  limitation  belong  to  the  divine 
being.  We  do  it  thus :  i .  It  must  either  have  limited  itself  or  J 
some  other  must  have  limited  it.  It  could  not  have  done  so  itself, 
because  having  been  infinite  it  would  have  had  to  change  its  whole 
essence.  Nor  can  it  be  limited  by  another :  for  this  again  must  be 
either  finite  or  infinite  ;  the  former  is  impossible,  therefore  the 
latter;  therefore  it  [i.e.,  the  other  thing]  is  God.  He  must,  then, 
have  made  it  finite  because  he  lacked  either  the  power  or  the  will 
[to  make  it  infinite] :  but  the  first  [supposition]  is  contrary  to  his  30 

J  B  inserts  here  2. 



i       2.   That  there  are  not  two  like  substances. 

3.  That  one  substance  cannot  produce  another. 

4.  That    in   the    infinite    understanding    of    God    there 
is   no   other   substance   than   that  which   is  formaliter   in 

As  regards  the  first,  namely,  that  there  is  no  finite  sub 
stance,  &c.,  should  any  one  want  to  maintain  the  opposite, 
we  would  ask  the  following  question,  namely,  whether  this 
substance  is  finite  through  itself,  whether  it  has  made 
10  itself  thus  finite  and  did  not  want  to  make  itself  less  finite  ; 
or  whether  it  is  thus  finite  through  its  cause,  which  cause 

omnipotence,  the  second  is  contrary  to  his  goodness. J  2.  That 
there  can  be  no  finite  substance  is  clear  from  this,  namely,  that,  if 
so,  it  would  necessarily  have  something  which  it  would  have  from 
Nothing,  which  is  impossible.  For  whence  can  it  derive  that 
wherein  it  differs  from  God  ?  Certainly  not  from  God,  for  he  has 
nothing  imperfect  or  finite,  £c.  So,  whence  then  but  from 
Nothing?  Therefore  there  is  no  substance  other  than  infinite. 
Whence  it  follows,  that  there  cannot  be  two  like  infinite  sub- 

20  stances  ;  for  to  posit  such  necessitates  limitation.  And  from  this, 
again,  it  follows  that  one  substance  cannot  produce  another  ;  thus  : 
The  cause  that  we  might  suppose  to  produce  this  substance  must 
have  the  same  attribute  J  J  as  the  one  produced,  and  also  either  just 
as  much  perfection  JJJ  or  more  or  less.  The  first  supposition  is 
not  possible,  because  there  would  then  be  two  like  [substances]. 
The  second  also  not,  because  in  that  case  there  would  be  a 
finite  [substance].  Nor  the  third,  because  something  cannot 
come  from  nothing. — Moreover,  if  the  finite  Hl~t  came  from 
the  infinite,  then  the  infinite  JJttt  would  also  be  finite,  &c. 

30  Therefore  one  substance  can  not  produce  another.  And  from 
this,  again,  it  follows  that  all  substance  must  exist  "formaliter" 
for  if  it  did  not  exist,  there  would  be  no  possibility  for  it  to  come 
into  existence. 

J  B  omits  here  the  next  five  lines,  which  it  has  already  given  at  the 
end  of  the  last  note  in  the  first  chapter. 
H  B:  attributes. 
Ill  B  omits  the  seven  words — "and  also  .  .  .  perfection." 

Hill  B  :  the  cause. 

WHAT  GOD  IS  23 

either  could  not  or  would  not  give  more  ?  The  first  i 
[alternative]  is  not  true,  because  it  is  impossible  that  a 
substance  should  have  wanted  to  make  itself  finite,  especially 
a  substance  which  had  come  into  existence  through  itself. 
Therefore,  I  say,  it  is  made  finite  by  its  cause,  which  is 
necessarily  God.  Further,  if  it  is  finite  through  its  cause, 
this  must  be  so  either  because  its  cause  could  not  give 
more,  or  because  it  would  not  give  more.  That  he  should 
not  have  been  able  to  give  more  would  contradict  his 
omnipotence ;  f  that  he  should  not  have  been  willing  10 
to  give  more,  when  he  could  well  do  so,  savours  of  ill- 
will,  which  is  nowise  in  God,  who  is  all  goodness  and 

As  regards  the  second,  that  there  are  not  two  like  substances, 
we  prove  this  on  the  ground  that  each  substance  is  perfect 
in  its  kind  ;  for  if  there  were  two  alike  they  would  neces- 

f  To  say  to  this  that  the  nature  of  the  thing  required  such 
[limitation]  and  that  it  could  not  therefore  be  otherwise,  that  is  no 
reply :  for  the  nature  of  a  thing  can  require  nothing  while  it  does 
not  exist.  Should  you  say  that  one  may,  nevertheless,  see  what  20 
belongs  to  the  nature  of  a  thing  which  does  not  exist :  that  is  true 
as  regards  its  existence,  but  by  no  means  as  regards  its  essence. 
And  herein  lies  the  difference  between  creating  and  generating. 
To  create  is  to  posit  a  thing  quo  ad  essentiam  et  existentiam  simul 
[i.e.,  to  give  a  thing  both  essence  and  existence] ;  while  in  the 
case  of  generation  a  thing  comes  forth  quo  ad  existentiam  solam 
[i.e.,  it  only  receives  existence].  And  therefore  there  is  now  in 
Nature  no  creation  but  only  generation.  So  that  when  God 
creates  he  creates  at  once  the  nature  of  the  thing  with  the 
thing  itself.  He  would  therefore  show  ill-will  if  (from  lack  of  30 
will,  and  not  of  power)  he  created  the  thing  in  such  a  way  that 
it  should  not  agree  with  its  cause  in  essence  and  existence. 
However,  what  we  here  call  creation  can  really  not  be  said 
ever  to  have  taken  place,  and  it  is  only  mentioned  to  indicate 
what  we  can  say  about  it,  if  we  distinguish  between  creating  and 


i  sarily  limit  one  another,  and  would  consequently  not  be 
infinite,  as  we  t  have  already  shown  before. 

As  to  the  third,  namely,  that  one  substance  cannot  produce 
another :  should  any  one  again  maintain  the  opposite,  we 
ask  whether  the  cause,  which  is  supposed  to  produce  this 
substance,  has  or  has  not  the  same  attributes  as  the 
produced  [substance].  The  latter  is  impossible,  because 
something  cannot  come  from  nothing;  therefore  the 
former.  And  then  we  ask  whether  in  the  attribute  which 

10  is  presumed  to  be  the  cause  of  this  produced  [substance], 
there  is  just  as  much  perfection  as  in  the  produced 
substance,  or  less,  or  more.  Less,  we  say,  there  cannot  be, 
for  the  reasons  *  given*  above.  More,  also  not,  we  say, 
because  in  that  case  this  second  one  would  be  finite,  which 
is  opposed  to  what  has  already  been  proved  by  us.  Just  as 
much,  then  ;  they  are  therefore  alike,  and  It  are  two  like 
substances,  which  clearly  conflicts  with  our  previous 
demonstration.  Further,  that  which  is  created  is  by 
no  means  produced  from  Nothing,  but  must  necessarily 

20  have  been  produced  from  something  existing.  But  that 
something  should  have  come  forth  from  this,  and  that  it 
should  none  the  less  have  this  something  even  after  it  has 
issued  from  it,  that  we  cannot  grasp  with  our  under 
standing.  Lastly,  if  we  would  seek  the  cause  of  the 
substance  which  is  the  origin  of  the  things  which  issue 
from  its  attribute,  then  it  behoves  us  to  seek  also  the  cause 
of  that  cause,  and  then  again  the  cause  of  that  cause,  et 
sic  in  infmitum  ;  so  that  if  we  must  necessarily  stop  and 
halt  somewhere,  as  indeed  we  must,  it  is  necessary  to  stop 

30  at  this  only  substance. 

As  regards  the  fourth,  that  there  is  no  substance  or  attribute 

in  the  infinite  understanding  of  God  other  than  what  exists 

"  formaliter"  in  Nature,  this  can  be,  and  is,  proved  by  us  : 

(i)  from  the  infinite  power  of  God,  since  in  him  there  can 

I  B  :  I.  tJ  B  has  "  or,"  and  omits  "  are." 

WHAT  GOD  IS  25 

be  no  cause  by  which  he  might  have  been  induced  to  i 
create  one  sooner  or  more  than  another ;  (2)  from  the 
simplicity  of  his  will  ;  (3)  because  he  cannot  omit  to  do 
what  is  good,  as  we  shall  show  afterwards  ;  (4)  because 
it  would  be  impossible  for  that  which  does  not  now  exist 
to  come  into  existence,  since  one  substance  cannot  produce 
another.  And,  what  is  more,  in  that  case  there  would  be 
more  infinite  substances  not  in  existence  than  there  are  in 
existence,  which  is  absurd,  t  From  all  this  it  follows  then  : 
that  of  Nature  all  in  all  is  predicated,  and  that  consequently  10 
Nature  consists  of  infinite  attributes,  each  of  which  is  perfect 
in  its  kind.  And  this  is  just  equivalent  to  the  definition 
usually  given  of  God. 

Against  what  we  have  just  said,  namely,  that  there  is  no 
thing  in  the  infinite  understanding  of  God  but  what  exists 
formaliter  in  Nature,  some  want  to  argue  in  this  way  :  If 
God  has  created  all,  then  he  can  create  nothing  more  ;  but 
that  he  should  be  able  to  create  nothing  more  conflicts  with 
his  omnipotence  ;  therefore  .  .  . 

Concerning  the  first,  we  admit  that  God  can  create  20 
nothing  more.  And  with  regard  to  the  second,  we  say 
that  we  own,  if  God  were  not  able  to  create  all  that  could 
be  created,  then  it  would  conflict  with  his  omnipotence  ; 
but  that  is  by  no  means  the  case  if  he  cannot  create  what  is 
self-contradictory  ;  as  it  is,  to  say  that  he  has  created  all,  and 
also  that  he  should  be  able  to  create  still  more.  Assuredly 
it  is  a  far  greater  perfection  in  God  that  he  has  created 
all  that  was  in  his  infinite  understanding  than  if  he  had 
not  created  it,  or,  as  they  say,  if  he  had  never  been  able  to 
create  it.  But  why  say  so  much  about  it  ?  Do  they  not  30 
themselves  argue  thus,  t  or  must  they  not  argue  thus 

t  B  omits  this  sentence. 

f  That  is,  whenever  we  make  them  argue  from  this  admis 
sion,  namely,  that  God  is  omniscient,  then  they  cannot  but  argue 


i  *  from  God's  omniscience*  :  If  God  is  omniscient  then  he 
can  know  nothing  more  ;  but  that  God  can  know  nothing 
more  is  incompatible  with  his  perfection  ;  therefore  .  .  .  ? 
But  if  God  has  all  in  his  understanding,  and,  owing  to  his 
infinite  perfection,  can  know  nothing  more,  well  then,  why 
can  we  not  say  that  he  has  also  created  all  that  he  had  in 
his  understanding,  and  has  made  it  so  that  it  exists  or 
should  exist  formatter  in  Nature  ? 

Since,  then,  we   know    that   all   alike  is   in  the   infinite 

10  understanding  of  God,  and  that  there  is  no  cause  why  he 
should  have  created  this  sooner  and  more  than  that,  and 
that  he  could  have  produced  all  things  in  a  moment,  so  let 
us  see,  for  once,  whether  we  cannot  use  against  them  the 
same  weapons  which  they  take  up  against  us  ;  namely, 

If  God  can  never  create  so  much  that  he  cannot  create 
more,  then  he  can  never  create  what  he  can  create  ;  but 
that  he  cannot  create  what  he  can  create  is  self-contra 
dictory.  Therefore  .  .  . 

20  Now  the  reasons  why  we  said  that  all  these  attributes, 
which  are  in  Nature,  are  but  one  single  being,  and  by  no 
means  different  things  (although  we  can  know  them  clearly 
and  distinctly  the  one  without  the  other,  and  the  other 
without  another),  are  these  : 

1.  Because   we   have   found   already   before   that  there 
must  be  an  infinite  and  perfect  being,  by  which  nothing 
else  can  be  meant  than  such  a  being  of  which  all  in  all 
must  be  predicated.    Why  ?     [Because]  to  a  being  which 
has  any  essence  attributes  must  be  referred,  and  the  more 

30  essence  one  ascribes  to  it,  the  more  attributes  also  must 
one  ascribe  to  it,  and  consequently  if  a  being  is  infinite 
then  its  attributes  also  must  be  infinite,  and  this  is  just 
what  we  call  a  perfect  J  being. 

2.  Because  of  the  unity  which   we  see    everywhere  in 

B  :  an  infinite. 

WHAT  GOD  IS  27 

Nature.     If  there  were  different  beings  in  it  t  then  it  would  i 
be  impossible  for  them  to  unite  with  one  another. 

3.  Because  although,  as  we  have  already  seen,  one 
substance  cannot  produce  another,  and  if  a  substance  does 
not  exist  it  is  impossible  for  it  to  begin  to  exist,  we  see, 
nevertheless,  that  in  no  substance  (which  we  none  the  less 
know  to  exist  in  Nature),  when  considered  separately,  is 
there  any  necessity  to  be  real,  since  existence  does  not 
pertain  to  its  separate  essence. ft  So  it  must  necessarily 
follow  that  Nature,  which  results  from  no  causes,  and  10 
which  we  nevertheless  know  to  exist,  must  necessarily  be  a 
perfect  being  to  which  existence  belongs. 

From  all  that  we  have  so  far  said  it  is  evident,  then,  that 
we  posit  extension  as  an  attribute  of  God  ;  and  this  seems 
not  at  all  appropriate  to  a  perfect  being  :  for  since  exten 
sion  is  divisible,  the  perfect  being  would  have  to  consist  of 
parts,  and  this  is  altogether  inapplicable  to  God,  because 

f  That  is,  if  there  were  different   substances   which  were  not 
connected  in  one  only  being,  then  their  union  would  be  impossible, 
because  we  see  clearly  that  they  have  nothing  at  all  in  common,  it  20 
is  so  with  thought  and  extension  of  which  we  nevertheless  consist. 

ft  That  is,  if  no  substance  can  be  other  than  real,  and  yet 
existence  does  not  follow  from  its  essence,  when  it  is  considered 
by  itself,  it  follows  that  it  is  not  something  independent,  but  must 
be  something,  that  is,  an  attribute,  of  another  thing,  namely,  the 
one,  only,  and  universal  being.  Or  thus :  All  substance  is  real,  and 
when  a  substance  is  considered  by  itself  its  existence  does  not 
follow  from  its  essence  ;  therefore,  no  existing  substance  can  be 
known  through  itself,  but  it  must  belong  to  something  else.  That 
is,  when  with  our  understanding  we  consider  "  substantial  "  Thought  30 
and  ["substantial"]  Extension,  then  we  consider  them  only  in  their 
essence  and  not  as  existing,  that  is  [we  do  not  consider]  that  their 
existence  necessarily  pertains  to  their  essence.  When,  however,  we 
prove  [of  each]  that  it  is  an  attribute  of  God,  we  thereby  prove  a 
priori  that  it  exists,  and  a  posteriori  (as  regards  extension  alone) 
[we  prove  its  existence]  from  the  modes  which  must  necessarily 
have  it  for  their  subjectum. 


i  he  is  a  simple  being.  Moreover,  when  extension  is  divided 
it  is  passive,  and  with  God  (who  is  never  passive,  and 
cannot  be  affected  by  any  other  being,  because  he  is  the 
first  efficient  cause  of  all)  this  can  by  no  means  be  the  case. 
To  this  we  reply  :  (i)  that  "part"  and  "whole"  are  not 
true  or  real  entities,  but  only  "things  of  reason,"  and 
consequently  there  are  in  Nature  t  neither  whole  nor  parts. 
(2)  A  thing  composed  of  different  parts  must  be  such  that 
the  parts  thereof,  taken  separately,  can  be  conceived  and 
10  understood  one  without  another.  Take,  for  instance,  a 
clock  which  is  composed  of  many  different  wheels,  cords, 
and  other  things  ;  in  it,  I  say,  each  wheel,  cord,  &c.,  can  be 

f  In  Nature,  that  is,  in  "  substantial "  Extension;  for  if  this  were 
divided  its  nature  and  being  would  be  at  once  annihilated,  as  it  exists 
only  as  infinite  extension,  or,  which  comes  to  the  same,  it  exists 
only  as  a  whole. 

But  should  you  say :  is  there,  in  extension,  no  part  prior  to  all 
its  modes  ?  I  say,  certainly  not.  But  you  may  say,  since  there  is 
motion  in  matter,  it  must  be  in  some  part  of  matter,  for  it  cannot 

20  be  in  the  whole,  because  this  is  infinite  ;  and  whither  shall  it  be 
moved,  when  there  is  nothing  outside  it  ?  Therefore  it  must  be  in 
a  part.J  My  answer  is  :  Motion  alone  does  not  exist,  but  only 
motion  and  rest  together  ;  and  this  is  in  the  whole,  and  must  be  in 
it,  because  there  is  no  part  in  extension.  Should  you,  however, 
say  that  there  is,  then  tell  me  :  if  you  divide  the  whole  of  extension 
then,  as  regards  any  part  which  you  cut  off  from  it  in  thought,  can  you 
also  separate  it  in  nature  from  all  [other]  parts ;  and  supposing  this 
has  been  done,  I  ask,  what  is  there  between  the  part  cut  offtJ  and 
the  rest  ?  You  must  say,  a  vacuum,  or  another  body,  or  something 

30  of  extension  itself;  there  is  no  fourth  possibility.  The  first  will  not 
do,  because  there  is  no  vacuum,  something  positive  and  yet  no 
body ;  nor  the  second,  because  then  there  would  exist  a  mode, 
which  cannot  be,  since  JJJ  extension  as  extension  is  without  and 
prior  to  all  modes.  Therefore  the  third  ;  and  then  there  is  no  part 
but  only  the  whole  of  extension. 

J  B  omits  this  sentence.  H  B:  separated. 

HI  B  :  therefore.  HI  J  B  :  but  extension  one  and  indivisible. 

WHAT  GOD  IS  29 

conceived  and  understood  separately,  without  the  com-  i 
posite  whole  being  necessary  thereto.  Similarly  also  in  the 
case  of  water,  which  consists  of  straight  oblong  particles, 
each  part  thereof  can  be  conceived  and  understood,  and 
can  exist  without  the  whole  ;  but  extension,  being  a  sub 
stance,  one  cannot  say  of  it  that  it  has  parts,  since  it  can 
neither  diminish  nor  increase,  and  no  parts  thereof  can  be 
understood  apart,  because  by  its  nature  it  must  be  infinite. 
And  that  it  must  be  such,  follows  from  this,  namely,  because 
if  it  were  not  such,  but  consisted  of  parts,  then  it  would  not  icr 
be  infinite  by  its  nature,  as  it  is  said  to  be ;  and  it  is 
impossible  to  conceive  parts  in  an  infinite  nature,  since  by 
their  nature  all  parts  are  finite. t  Add  to  this  still  :  if  it 
consisted  of  different  parts  then  it  should  be  intelligible 
that  supposing  some  parts  thereof  to  be  annihilated,  exten- 
tion  might  remain  all  the  same,  and  not  be  annihilated 
together  with  the  annihilation  of  some  of  its  parts  ;  this  is 
clearly  contradictory  in  what  is  infinite  by  its  own  nature 
and  can  never  be,  or  be  conceived,  as  limited  or  finite. 
Further,  as  regards  the  parts  in  Nature,  we  maintain  that  20 
division,  as  has  also  been  said  already  before,  never  takes  place 
in  substance,  but  always  and  only  in  the  mode  of  substance. 
Thus,  if  I  want  to  divide  water,  I  only  divide  the  mode  of 
substance,  and  not  substance  itself.  And  whether  this  mode 
is  that  of  water  or  something  else  it  is  always  the 

Division,  then,  or  passivity,  always  takes  place  in  the 
mode  ;  thus  when  we  say  that  man  passes  away  or  is 
annihilated,  then  this  is  understood  to  apply  to  man  only  in 
so  far  as  he  is  such  a  composite  being,  and  a  mode  of  sub 
stance,  and  not  the  substance  on  which  he  depends.  30 

J  B  :  because  all  the  parts  would  have  to  be  infinite  by  their 

tt  B  :  when,  therefore,  I  divide  water  I  do  not  divide  the  sub 
stance,  but  only  that  mode  of  the  substance,  which  substance, 
however  variously  modified,  is  always  the  same. 



*  Moreover,  we  have  already  stated,  and  we  shall  repeat  it 
Inter,  that  outside  God  there  is  nothing  at  all,  and  that  he  is 
an  Immanent  Cause.  Now,  passivity,  whenever  the  agent 
and  the  patient  are  different  entities,  is  a  palpable  imperfec 
tion,  because  the  patient  must  necessarily  be  dependent  on 
that  which  has  caused  the  passivity  from  outside  ;  it  has, 
therefore,  no  place  in  God,  who  is  perfect,  Furthermore, 
of  such  an  agent  who  acts  in  himself  it  can  never  be  said 
that  he  has  the  imperfection  of  a  patient,  because  he  is  not 

10  affected  by  another  ;  such,  for  instance,  is  the  case  with  the 
understanding,  which,  as  the  philosophers  also  assert,  is  the 
cause  of  its  ideas,  since,  however,  it  is  an  immanent  cause, 
what  right  has  one  to  say  that  it  is  imperfect,  howsoever 
frequently  it  is  affected  by  itself  ?  t  Lastly,  since  substance 
is  [the  cause]  and  the  origin  of  all  its  modes,  it  may  with 
far  greater  right  be  called  an  agent  than  a  patient.  And 
with  these  remarks  we  consider  all  adequately  answered. 

It  is  further  objected,  that  there  must  necessarily  be  a 
first  cause  which  sets  body  in  motion,  because  when  at  rest 

20  it  is  impossible  for  it  to  set  itself  in  motion.  And  since  it 
is  clearly  manifest  that  rest  and  motion  exist  in  Nature, 
these  must,  they  think,  necessarily  result  from  an  external 
cause.  But  it  is  easy  for  us  to  reply  to  this  ;  for  we  concede 
that,  if  body  were  a  thing  existing  through  itself,  and  had  no 
other  attributes  than  length,  breadth,  and  depth,  then,  if  it 
really  rested  there  would  be  in  it  no  cause  whereby  to  begin 
to  move  itself  ;  but  we  have  already  stated  before  that 
Nature  is  a  being  of  which  all  attributes  are  predicated,  and 
this  being  so,  it  can  be  lacking  in  nothing  wherewith  to 

30  produce  all  that  there  is  to  be  produced. 

Having  so  far  discussed  what  God  is,  we  shall  say  but 
a  word,  as  it  were,  about  his  attributes  :  that  those  which 
are  known  to  us  consist  of  two  only,  namely,  Thought  and 

I  B  :  And  although  the  understanding,  as  the  philosophers  say, 
is  a  cause  of  its  ideas,  yet,  since  it  is  an  immanent  cause,  &c. 

WHAT  GOD  IS  31 

Extension  ;  for  here  we  speak  only  of  attributes  which  i 
might  be  called  the  proper  attributes  of  God,!  through 
which  we  come  to  know  him  [as  he  is]  in  himself,  and  not 
[merely]  as  he  acts  [towards  things]  outside  himself.  All 
else,  then,  that  men  ascribe  to  God  beyond  these  two 
attributes,  all  that  (if  it  otherwise  pertains  to  him)  must  be 
either  an  "  extraneous  denomination,"  such  as  that  he  exists 
through  himself,  is  Eternal,  One,  Immutable,  &c.,  or,  I  say,  has 
reference  to  his  activity,  such  as  that  he  is  a  cause,  predes 
tines,  and  rules  all  things  :  all  which  are  properties  of  God,  10 
but  give  us  no  information  as  to  what  he  is.  But  how  and  in 
what  manner  these  attributes  can  nevertheless  have  a  place  in 
God  we  shall  explain  in  the  following  chapters.  But,  for 
the  better  understanding  of  this  !!  and  in  further  exposition 
thereof,!!!  we  have  thought  it  well  *  and  have  decided  *  to 
add  the  following  arguments  consisting  of  a  [Dialogue.] 

!  B :  which  may  truly  be  called  God's  attributes. 

!!  B  :  of  the  foregoing.          !!!  B  :  of  what  we  mean  to  say. 



LOVE.  I  see,  Brother,  that  both  my  essence  and  perfection 
depend  on  your  perfection  ;  and  since  the  perfection  of  the 
object  which  you  have  conceived  is  your  perfection,  while 
from  yours  again  mine  proceeds,  so  tell  me  now,  I  pray  you, 
whether  you  have  conceived  such  a  being  as  is  supremely 
perfect,  not  capable  of  being  limited  by  any  other,  and  in 

10  which  I  also  am  comprehended. 

UNDERSTANDING.  I  for  my  part  consider  Nature  only 
in  its  totality  as  infinite,  and  supremely  perfect,  but  you, 
if  you  have  any  doubts  about  it,  ask  Reason,  she  will 
tell  you. 

REASON.  To  me  the  truth  of  the  matter  is  indubitable,  for 
if  we  would  limit  Nature  then  we  should,  absurdly  enough, 
have  to  limit  it  with  a  mere  Nothing ;  I  we  avoid  this  absurdity 
by  stating  that  it  is  OneEternal  Unity,  infinite,  omnipotent,  &c., 
that  is,  that  Nature  is  infinite  and  that  all  is  contained 

20  therein  ;  and  the  negative  of  this  we  call  Nothing. 

DESIRE.  Ah  indeed  !  it  is  wondrously  congruous  to  sup 
pose  that  Unity  is  in  keeping  with  the  Difference  which  I 
observe  everywhere  in  Nature.  But  how  ?  I  see  that  think 
ing  substance  has  nothing  in  common  with  extended  sub 
stance,  and  that  the  one  limits  [not]  the  other ;  and  if,  in  addi 
tion  to  these  substances,  you  want  to  posit  yet  a  third  one 
which  is  perfect  in  all  respects,  then  look  how  you  involve 

J  A  and  B  continue  :  moreover  under  the  following  attributes, 
namely,   that    it    is    One,    Eternal,    infinite   through   itself ;   we 
30  avoid  .  .  . 


UNDERSTANDING,  LOVE,  REASON,  &c.        33 

yourself  in  manifest  contradictions  ;  for  if  this  third  one  is  i 
placed  outside  the  first  two,  then  it  is  wanting  in  all  the 
attributes  which  belong  to  those  two,  but  this  can  never  be 
the  case  with  a  whole  outside  of  which  there  is  nothing. 
Moreover  if  this  being  is  omnipotent  and  perfect,  then  it  must 
be  such  because  it  has  made  itself,  and  not  because  another 
has  made  it ;  that,  however,  which  could  produce  both  itself 
and  yet  another  besides  would  be  even  more  omnipotent. 
And  lastly,  if  you  call  it  omniscient  then  it  is  necessary  that 
it  should  know  itself ;  and,  at  the  same  time,  you  must  know  10 
that  the  knowledge  of  oneself  alone  is  less  than  the  know 
ledge  of  oneself  together  with  the  knowledge  of  other  sub 
stances.  All  these  are  manifest  contradictions.  I  would, 
therefore,  have  advised  Love  to  rest  content  with  what  I  show 
her,  and  to  look  about  for  no  other  things. 

LOVE.  What  now,  O  dishonourable  one,  have  you  shown 
me  but  what  would  result  in  my  immediate  ruin.  For,  if  I 
had  ever  united  myself  with  what  you  have  shown  me,  then 
from  that  moment  I  should  have  been  persecuted  by  the 
two  archenemies  of  the  human  race,  namely,  Hatred  and  20 
Remorse,  and  sometimes  also  by  Oblivion  ;  and  therefore  I 
turn  again  to  Reason  only  to  proceed  and  stop  the  mouths 
of  these  foes. 

REASON.  What  you  say,  O  Desire,  that  there  are  different 
substances,  that,  I  tell  you,  is  false ;  for  I  see  clearly  that 
there  is  but  One,  which  exists  through  itself,  and  is  a  support  to 
all  other  attributes.  And  if  you  will  refer  to  the  material  and 
the  mental  as  substances,  in  relation  to  the  modes  which  are 
dependent  on  them,  why  then,  you  must  also  call  them 
modes  in  relation  to  the  substance  t  on  which  they  depend  :  3° 
for  they  are  not  conceived  by  you  as  existing  through  them 
selves.  And  in  the  same  way  that  willing,  feeling,  under 
standing,  loving,  &c.,  are  different  modes  of  that  which  you 
call  a  thinking  substance,  in  which  you  bring  together  and 
t  A  :  substances  ;  B  :  substance. 


i  unite  all  these  in  one,  t  so  I  also  conclude,  from  your  own 
proofs,  that  Both  Infinite  Extension  and  Thought  together  with 
all  other  infinite  attributes  (or,  according  to  your  usage,  other 
substances)  are  only  modes  of  the  One,  Eternal,  Infinite  Being, 
who  exists  through  himself  ;  and  from  all  these  we  posit,  as 
stated,  An  Only  One  or  a  Unity  outside  which  nothing  can  be 
imagined  to  be.  J} 

DESIRE.  Methinks  I  see  a  very  great  confusion  in  this  argu 
ment  of  yours  ;  for,  it  seems  you  will  have  it  that  the  whole 

10  must  be  something  outside  of  or  apart  from  its  parts,  which  is 
truly  absurd.  For  all  philosophers  are  unanimous  in  saying 
that  "  whole  "  is  a  second  notion,  and  that  it  is  nothing  in 
Nature  apart  from  human  thought.  Moreover,  as  I  gather 
from  your  example,  you  confuse  whole  with  cause  :  for,  as  I 
say,  the  whole  only  consists  of  and  [exists]  through  its  parts, 
and  so  it  comes  that  you  represent  the  thinking  power  as  a 
thing  on  which  the  Understanding,  Love,  &c.,  depend.  But 
you  cannot  call  it  a  Whole,  only  a  Cause  of  the  Effects  just 
named  by  you. 

20  REASON.  I  see  decidedly  how  you  muster  all  your  friends 
against  me,  and  that,  after  the  method  usually  adopted  by 
those  who  oppose  the  truth,  you  are  designing  to  achieve  by 
quibbling  what  you  have  not  been  able  to  accomplish  with 
your  fallacious  reasoning.  But  you  will  not  succeed  in 
winning  Love  to  your  side  by  such  means.  Your  assertion, 
then,  is,  that  the  cause  (since  it  is  the  Originator  of  the  effects) 
must  therefore  be  outside  these.  But  you  say  this  because 
you  only  know  of  the  transeunt  and  not  of  the  immanent 
cause,  which  by  no  means  produces  anything  outside  itself, 

30  as  is  exemplified  by  the  Understanding,  which  is  the  cause 
of  its  ideas.  And  that  is  why  I  called  the  understanding 

%  A  :  all  which  you  bring  to  one,  and  make  one  from  all  these ; 
B  :  to  which  you  bring  all  and  make  them  into  one. 

It  B  :  .  .  .  One,  Eternal,  self-subsisting  Being  in  which  all  is  one 
and  united,  and  outside  which  unity  nothing  can  be  imagined  to  be. 

UNDERSTANDING,  LOVE,  REASON,  &c.        35 

(in  so  far  as,  or  because,  its  ideas  depend  on  it  J)  a  cause ; 
and  on  the  other  hand,  since  it  consists  of  its  ideas,  a  whole  : 
so  also  God  is  both  an  Immanent  Cause  with  reference  to  his 
works  or  creatures,  and  also  a  whole,  considered  from  the  second 
point  of  view. 

I  So  in  B.     A  :  it  depends  on  its  ideas. 





ERASMUS.  I  have  heard  you  say,  Theophilus,  that  God  is 
a  cause  of  all  things,  and,  at  the  same  time,  that  he  can  be 
no  other  than  an  Immanent  cause.  Now,  if  he  is  znimmanent 
cause  of  all  things,  how  then  can  you  call  him  a  remote  I 

10  cause  ?     For,  that  is  impossible  in  the  case  of  an  Immanent 

THEOPHILUS.  When  I  said  that  God  is  a  remote  t  cause,  I 
only  said  it  with  reference  to  the  things  [which  God  has 
produced  mediately,  and  not  with  reference  to  those]  which 
God  (without  any  other  conditions  beyond  his  mere  exist 
ence)  has  produced  immediately  ;  but  on  no  account  did 
I  mean  to  call  him  a  remote!  cause  absolutely:  as  you 
might  also  have  clearly  gathered  from  my  remarks.  For, 
I  also  said  that  in  some  respects  we  can  call  him  a  remote 

20  cause. 

ERASMUS.  I  understand  now  adequately  what  you  want 
to  say  ;  but  I  note  also  that  you  have  said,  that  the  effect  of 
the  It  immanent  cause  remains  united  with  its  cause  in  such 
a  way  that  together  they  constitute  a  whole.  Now,  if  this  is 
so,  then,  methinks,  God  cannot  be  an  immanent  cause. 
For,  if  he  and  that  which  is  produced  by  him  together  form 
a  whole,  then  you  ascribe  to  God  at  one  time  more  essence 
than  at  another  time.  I  pray  you,  remove  these  doubts 
for  me. 

30  JB:  prior.  H  B  :  an. 



THEOPHILUS.  If,  Erasmus,  you  want  to  extricate  yourself  i 
from  this  confusion,  then  mark  well  what  I  am  going  to  tell 
you  now.  The  essence  of  a  thing  does  not  increase  through 
its  union  with  another  thing  with  which  it  constitutes  a 
whole  ;  on  the  contrary,  the  first  remains  unchanged.  I  will 
give  you  an  illustration,  so  that  you  may  understand  me  the 
better.  An  image-carver  has  made  from  wood  various  forms 
after  the  likeness  of  the  parts  of  the  human  body  ;  he  takes 
one  of  these,  which  has  the  form  of  a  human  breast,  joins  it 
to  another,  which  has  the  form  of  a  human  head,  and  of  10 
these  two  he  makes  a  whole,  which  represents  the  upper  part 
of  a  human  body  ;  would  you  therefore  say  that  the  essence 
of  the  head  has  increased  because  it  has  been  joined  to  the 
breast  ?  That  would  be  erroneous,  because  it  is  the  same 
that  it  was  before.  For  the  sake  of  greater  clearness  let  me 
give  you  another  illustration,  namely,  an  idea  that  I  have  of 
a  triangle,  and  another  resulting  from  an  extension  of  one 
of  the  angles,  which  extended  or  extending  angle  is  neces 
sarily  equal  to  the  two  interior  opposite  angles,  and  so  forth. 
These,  I  say,  have  produced  a  new  idea,  namely,  that  the  20 
three  angles  of  the  triangle  are  equal  to  two  right  angles. 
This  idea  is  so  connected  with  the  first,  that  it  can  neither 
be,  nor  be  conceived  without  the  same.t  Mark  well  now 
that  although  the  new  idea  is  joined  to  the  preceding  one, 
the  essence  of  the  preceding  idea  does  not  undergo  any 
change  in  consequence  ;  on  the  contrary,  it  remains  without 
the  slightest  change.  The  same  you  may  also  observe  in 
every  idea  which  produces  love  in  itself  :  this  love  in  no  way 
adds  to  the  essence  of  the  idea.  But  why  multiply  illustra 
tions  ?  since  you  can  see  it  clearly  in  the  subject  which  I  30 
have  been  illustrating  and  which  we  are  discussing  now.  I 
have  distinctly  stated  that  all  attributes,  which  depend  on  no 

t  A  continues  :  And  of  all  ideas  which  any  one  has  we  make  a 
whole,  or  (which  is  the  same)  a  thing  of  reason,  which  we  call 


other  cause,  and  whose  definition  requires  no  genus  pertain 
to  the  essence  of  God  ;  and  since  the  created  things  are  not 
competent  to  establish  an  attribute,  they  do  not  increase  the 
essence  of  God,  however  intimately  they  become  united  to 
him.  Add  to  this,  that  "whole"  is  but  a  thing  of  Reason, 
and  does  not  differ  from  the  general  except  in  this  alone  that 
the  general  results  from  various  Disconnected  individuals,  the 
Whole,  from  various  United  individuals  ;  also  in  this,  that 
the  General  only  comprises  parts  of  the  same  kind,  but  the 

10  Whole,  parts  both  the  same  and  different  in  kind. I 

ERASMUS.  So  far  as  this  is  concerned  you  have  satisfied 
me.  But,  in  addition  to  this,  you  have  also  said,  that  the 
effect  of  the  II  inner  cause  cannot  perish  so  long  as  its  cause 
lasts  ;  this,  I  well  see,  is  certainly  true,  but  III  if  this  is  so, 
then  how  can  God  be  an  inner  cause  of  all  things,  seeing 
that  many  things  perish  ?  After  your  previous  distinction 
you  will  say,  that  God  is  really  a  cause  of  the  effects  which  he 
has  produced  immediately,  without  any  other  conditions  except 
his  attributes  alone ;  and,  that  these  cannot  perish  so  long  as 

20  their  cause  endures  ;  but  that  you  do  not  call  God  an  inner  cause 
of  the  effects  whose  existence  does  not  depend  on  him  imme 
diately,  but  which  have  come  into  being  through  some  other 
thing,  except  in  so  far  as  their  causes  do  not  operate,  and  can 
not  operate,  without  God,  nor  also  outside  him^lll  and  that  for 
this  reason  also,  since  they  are  not  produced  immediately 
by  God,  they  can  perish.  But  this  does  not  satisfy  me. 
For  I  see  that  you  conclude,  that  the  human  understanding 
is  immortal,  because  it  is  a  product  which  God  has  pro 
duced  in  himself.  Now  it  is  impossible  that  more  than  the 

30  I  B  :  .  .  .  the  general  results  from  various  unconnected  indi 
viduals  of  the  same  kind  ;  but  the  whole  from  various  connected 
individuals  different  as  well  as  the  same  in  kind. 

U  B  :  an. 

HI  B  :   this,  I  see,  is  not  true,  because  if  ... 

llll  B  :  without  and  outside  him. 


attributes  of  God  should  have  been  necessary  in  order  to  i 
produce  such  an  understanding  ;  for,  in  order  to  be  a  being 
of  such  supreme  perfection,  it  must  have  been  created  from 
eternity,  just  like  all  other  things  which  depend  imme 
diately  on  God.  And  I  have  heard  you  say  so,  if  I  am  not 
mistaken.  And  this  being  so,  how  will  you  reconcile  J 
this  without  leaving  over  any  difficulties  ? 

THEOPHILUS.  It  is  true,  Erasmus,  that  the  things  (for  the 
existence  of  which  no  other  thing  is  required,  except  the 
attributes  of  God)  which  have  been  created  immediately  by  10 
him  have  been  created  from  eternity.  It  is  to  be  remarked, 
however,  that  although  in  order  that  a  thing  may  exist 
there  is  required  a  special  modification  and  tt  a  thing  beside 
the  attributes  of  God,  for  all  that,  God  does  not  cease  to  be 
able  to  produce  a  thing  immediately.  For,  of  the  necessary 
things  which  are  required  to  bring  things  Jtt  into  existence, 
some  are  there  in  order  that  they  should  produce  the  thing, 
and  others  in  order  that  the  thing  should  be  capable  of  being 
produced.  For  example,  I  want  to  have  light  in  a  certain 
room  ;  I  kindle  a  light,  and  this  lights  up  the  room  through  20 
itself ;  or  I  open  a  window  [shutter],  now  this  act  of  opening 
does  not  itself  give  light,  but  still  it  brings  it  about  that  the 
light  can  enter  the  room.Jttt  Likewise  in  order  to  set  a 
body  in  motion  another  body  is  required  that  shall  have  all 
the  motion  that  is  to  pass  from  it  to  the  other.  But  in 
order  to  produce  in  us  an  idea  of  God  there  is  no  need  for 
another  special  thing  that  shall  have  what  is  to  be  produced 
in  us,  but  only  such  a  body  in  Nature  whose  idea  is  neces 
sary  in  order  to  represent  God  immediately.  This  you 

t  B  :  explain.  30 

II  B  :  of.  HI  B  :   a  thing. 

tilt  B  :  I  kindle  this  [light],  or  I  open  a  window,  whereupon  the 
room  becomes  light ;  now  the  act  of  kindling,  or  of  opening  the  room 
does  not  produce  the  light,  but  prepares  the  way  for  the  light  to  be 
able  to  light  up  the  room,  or  to  enter  it. 


i  could  also  have  gathered  from  my  remarks  :  for  I  said  that 
God  is  only  known  through  himself,  and  not  through 
something  else.  However,  I  tell  you  this,  that  so  long  as 
we  have  not  such  a  clear  idea  of  God  as  shall  unite  us 
with  him  in  such  a  way  that  it  will  not  let  us  love  any 
thing  beside  him,  we  cannot  truly  say  that  we  are  united 
with  God,  so  as  to  depend  immediately  on  him.  If  there  is 
still  anything  that  you  may  have  to  ask,  leave  it  for  another 
time  ;  just  now  circumstances  require  me  to  attend  to  other 

10  matters.     Farewell. 

ERASMUS.  Nothing  at  present,  but  I  shall  ponder  what 
you  have  just  told  me  till  the  next  opportunity.  God  be 
with  you. 



WE  shall  now  begin  to  consider  those  attributes  [of  God] 
which  we  called  Propria.'f  And,  first  of  all,  how  God  *'s  a 
cause  of  all  things. 

Now,  we  have  already  said  above  that  one  substance  can 
not  produce  another  ;  and  that  God  is  a  being  of  whom  all 
attributes  are  predicated;  whence  it  clearly  follows  that  all 
other  things  can  by  no  means  be,  or  be  understood,  apart 
from  or  outside  him.  Wherefore  we  may  say  with  all  10 
reason  that  God  is  a  cause  of  all  things. 

As  it  is  usual  to  divide  the  efficient  cause  in  eight 
divisions,  let  me,  then,  inquire  how  and  in  what  sense  God 
is  a  cause. 

First,  then,  we  say  that  he  is  an  emanative  or  productive  cause 
of  his  works ;  and,  in  so  far  as  there  is  activity,  an  active  or 
operating  cause,  which  we  regard  as  one  and  the  same, 
because  they  involve  each  other. 

Secondly,  he  is  an  immanent,  and  not  a  transeunt  cause, 
since  all  that  he  produces  is  within  himself,  and  not  outside  20 
him,  because  there  is  nothing  outside  him. 

Thirdly,  God  is  a  free  cause,  and  not  a  natural  cause,  as 
we  shall  make  clear  and  manifest  when  we  come  to  consider 
whether  God  can  omit  to  do  what  he  does,  and  then  it  will  also 
be  explained  wherein  true  freedom  consists. 

t  The  [attributes]  following  are  called  Propria,  because  they  are 
only  Adjectives,  which  cannot  be  understood  without  their  Substan 
tives.  That  is  to  say,  without  them  God  would  indeed  be  no  God, 
but  still  it  is  not  they  that  constitute  God  ;  for  they  reveal  nothing  of 
the  character  of  a  Substance,  through  which  alone  God  exists.  30 


i  Fourthly,  God  is  a  cause  through  himself,  and  not  by 
accident ;  this  will  become  more  evident  from  the  discussion 
on  Predestination. 

Fifthly,  God  is  a  principal  cause  of  his  works  which  he  has 
created  immediately,  such  as  movement  in  matter,  &c. ;  in 
which  there  is  no  place  for  a  subsidiary  [instrumental] 
cause,  since  this  is  confined  to  particular  things ;  as  when 
he  dries  the  sea  by  means  of  a  strong  wind,  and  so  forth  in 
the  case  of  all  particular  things  t  in  Nature. 
10  The  subsidiary  provoking  cause  is  not  [found]  in  God, 
because  there  is  nothing  outside  him  to  incite  him.  The 
predisposing  It  cause,  on  the  other  hand,  is  his  perfection 
itself ;  through  it  he  is  a  cause  of  himself,  and,  consequently, 
of  all  other  things. 

Sixthly,  God  alone  is  the  first  or  Initial  cause,  as  is  evident 
from  our  foregoing  proof. 

Seventhly,  God  is  also  a  Universal  cause,  but  only  in  so 
far   as   he   produces   various   things ;    otherwise   this   can 
never  be  predicated  of  him,  as  he  needs  no  one  in  order 
20  to  produce  any  results. 

Eighthly,  God  is  the  proximate  cause  of  the  things  that 
are  infinite,  and  immutable,  and  which  we  assert  to  have 
been  created  immediately  by  him,  but,  in  one  sense,  he  is 
the  remote  cause  of  all  particular  things. 

J  B  omits  the  semi-colon  before  "  as,"  in  the  preceding  line,  and 
gives  the  words  "  as  when  .  .  .  particular  things  "  in  a  note,  instead 
of  in  the  text. 

tt  A  and  B  :  voorgaande. 



WE  deny  that  God  can  omit  to  do  what  he  does,  and  we  shall 
also  prove  it  when  we  treat  of  Predestination  ;  when  we  will 
show  that  all  things  necessarily  depend  on  their  causes.  But, 
in  the  second  place,  this  conclusion  also  follows  from  the 
perfection  of  God  ;  for  it  is  true,  beyond  a  doubt,  that  God 
can  make  everything  just  as  perfect  as  it  is  conceived  in  his 
Idea  ;  and  just  as  things' that  are  conceived  by  him  cannot 
be  conceived  by  him  more  perfectly  than  he  conceives  them,  10 
so  all  things  can  be  made  by  him  so  perfect  that  they  can 
not  come  from  him  in  a  more  perfect  condition.  Again,  t 
when  we  conclude  that  God  could  not  have  omitted  to  do 
what  he  has  done,  we  deduce  this  from  his  perfection  ; 
because,  in  God,  it  would  be  an  imperfection  to  be  able  to 
omit  to  do  what  he  does  ;  we  do  not,  however,  suppose  that 
there  is  a  subsidiary  provoking  cause  in  God  that  might  have 
moved  him  to  action,  for  then  he  were  no  God. 

But  now,  again,  there  is  the  controversy  whether,  namely, 
of  all  that  is  in  his  Idea,  and  which  he  can  realise  so  20 
perfectly,  whether,  I  say,  he  could  omit  to  realise  anything, 
and  whether  such  an  omission  would  be  a  perfection  in  him. 
Now,  we  maintain  that,  since  all  that  happens  is  done  by 
God,  it  must  therefore  necessarily  be  predetermined  by 
him,  otherwise  he  would  be  mutable,  which  would  be  a  great 
imperfection  in  him.  And  as  this  predetermination  by  him 
must  be  from  eternity,  in  which  eternity  there  is  no  before 
or  after,  it  follows  irresistibly  that  God  could  never  have 
predetermined  things  in  any  other  way  than  that  in  which 

I  B  :  but.  3o 



1  they  are  determined  now,  and  have  been  from  eternity,  and 
that  God  could  not  have  been  either  before  or  without  these 
determinations.  Further,  if  God  should  omit  to  do  anything, 
then  he  must  either  have  some  cause  for  it,  or  not  ;  if  he 
has,  then  it  is  necessary  that  he  should  omit  doing  it ;  if  he 
has  not,  then  it  is  necessary  that  he  should  not  omit  to  da 
it  ;  this  is  self-evident.  Moreover,  in  a  created  thing  it  is  a 
perfection  to  exist  and  to  have  been  produced  by  God,  for, 
of  all  imperfection,  non-existence  is  the  greatest  imper- 

10  fection  ;  and  since  God  desires  the  welfare  and  perfection 
of  all  things,  it  would  follow  that  if  God  desired  that  a 
certain  thing  should  not  exist,  then  the  welfare  and  perfec 
tion  of  this  thing  must  be  supposed  to  consist  in  its  non- 
existence,  which  is  self-contradictory.  That  is  why  we  deny 
that  God  can  omit  to  do  what  he  does.  Some  regard  this  as 
blasphemy,  and  as  a  belittling  of  God  ;  but  such  an  assertion 
results  from  a  misapprehension  of  what  constitutes  hue 
freedom ;  this  is  by  no  means  what  they  think  it  is,  namely, 
the  ability  to  do  or  to  omit  to  do  something  good  or  evil  ; 

20  but  true  freedom  is  only,  or  no  other  than  [the  status  of  being] 
the  first  cause,  which  is  in  no  way  constrained  or  coerced  by 
anything  else,  and  which  through  its  perfection  alone  is  the 
cause  of  all  perfection  ;  t  consequently,  if  God  could  omit 
to  do  this,  he  would  not  be  perfect :  for  the  ability  to  omit 
doing  some  good,  or  accomplishing  some  perfection  in 
what  he  does,  can  have  no  place  in  him,  except  through 
defect,  tt 

That  God  alone  is  the  only  free  cause  is,  therefore,  clear 
not  only  from  what  has  just  been  said,  but  also  from  this, 

30  namely,  that  there  is  no  external  cause  outside  him  to  force  or 
constrain  him  ;  all  this  is  not  the  case  with  created  things. 
Against  this  it  is  argued  thus  :     The  good  is  only  good 

J  B  :  but  true  freedom  consists  in  this,  that  the  first  cause,  con 
strained  or  coerced  by  nothing  else,  through  its  perfection  alone  is 
the  cause  of  all  perfection.  JJ  B  :  because  it  implies  defect. 


because  God  wills  it,  and  this  being  so,  he  can  always  bring  i 
it  about  that  evil  should  be  good.  But  such  reasoning  is 
about  as  conclusive  as  if  I  said  :  It  is  because  God  wills  to 
be  God  that  he  is  God  ;  therefore  it  is  in  his  power  not  to  be 
God,  which  is  absurdity  itself.  Furthermore,  when  people 
do  anything,  and  they  are  asked  why  they  do  it,  their  answer 
is,  because  it  is  what  justice  demands.  If  the  question  is 
then  put,  why  justice,  or  rather  the  first  cause  of  all  that  is 
just,  *makes  such  a  demand,*  then  the  answer  must  be, 
because  justice  wills  it  so.  But,  dear  me,  I  think  to  myself,  10 
could  Justice  really  be  other  than  just  ?  By  no  means,  for 
then  it  could  not  be  Justice.  Those,  however,  who  say  that 
God  does  all  that  he  does  because  it  is  good  in  itself,  these, 
I  say,  may  possibly  think  that  they  do  not  differ  from  us. 
But  that  is  far  from  being  the  case,  since  they  suppose  that 
there  is  something  before  God  I  to  which  he  has  duties  or 
obligations,  namely,  a  cause  [through]  which  [God]  desires 
that  this  shall  be  good,  and,  again,  that  that  shall  be  just.H 
Then  comes  the  further  controversy,  namely,  whether 
God,  supposing  all  things  had  been  created  by  him  in  some  20 
other  way  from  eternity,  or  had  been  ordered  and  pre 
determined  to  be  otherwise  than  they  now  are,  whether,  I 
say,  he  would  then  be  just  as  perfect  *as  he  is  now.*  To 
this  it  may  serve  as  an  answer,  that  if  Nature  had,  from  all 
eternity,  been  made  different  from  what  it  is  now,  then,  from 
the  standpoint  of  those  who  ascribe  to  God  will  and  under 
standing,  it  would  necessarily  follow  that  God  had  a  different 
will  and  a  different  understanding  then,  lit  in  consequence 
of  which  he  would  have  made  it  different ;  and  so  we  should 
be  compelled  to  think  that  God  tttt  has  a  different  character  30 

I  B  :  Goodness  (Goed  instead  of  God). 

It  B :  ...  obligations,   because  of  a  desire  that  this  shall  be 
good,  and  that,  again,  just. 

:  "  than  now  "  (als  nu)  instead  of  "  then  "  (als  doen). 
B  omits  the  eleven  words  which  follow  ("  has  .  .  .  and  "). 



i  now  from  what  he  had  then,  and  had  a  different  character 
then  from  what  he  has  now  ;  so  that,  if  we  assume  he 
is  most  perfect  now,  we  are  compelled  to  say  that  he  would 
not  have  been  so  had  he  created  all  things  differently.  All 
these  things,  involving  as  they  do  palpable  absurdities,  can 
in  no  way  be  attributed  to  God,  who  now,  in  the  past,  and 
unto  all  eternity,  is,  has  been,  and  will  remain  immutable. 
We  prove  this  also  from  the  definition  that  we  have  given 
of  a  free  cause,  which  is  not  one  that  can  do  or  omit  to  do 

10  anything,  but  is  only  such  as  is  not  dependent  on  anything 
else,  so  that  whatever  God  does  is  done  and  carried  into 
effect  by  him  as  the  freest  I  cause.  If,  therefore,  he  had 
formerly  made  things  different  from  what  they  are  now,  it 
would  needs  follow  that  he  was  at  one  time  imperfect,  which 
is  falsest  For,  since  God  is  the  first  cause  of  all  things, 
there  must  be  something  in  him,  through  which  he  does 
what  he  does,  and  omits  not  to  do  it.  Since  we  say  that 
Freedom  does  not  consist  in  [having  the  choice  of]  doing  or 
not  doing  something,  and  since  we  have  also  shown  that 

20  that  which  makes  him  [God]  do  anything  can  be  nothing 
else  than  his  own  perfection,  we  conclude  that,  had  it  not 
been  that  his  perfection  made  him  do  all  this,  then  the  things 
would  not  exist,  and  could  not  come  into  existence,  in  order  to 
be  what  they  are  now.  This  is  just  like  saying  :  if  God  were 
imperfect  then  things  would  be  different  from  what  they  are 

So  much  as  regards  the  first  [attribute] ;  we  shall  now 
pass  on  to  the  second  attribute,  which  we  call  a  proprium 
of  God,  and  see  what  we  have  to  say  about  it,  and  so  on  to 

3o  the  end. 

J  A  :  wisest  (alderwijste  instead  of  aldervrijste  ;  corrected  in  B). 
JJ  B  omits  this  sentence. 



THE  second  attribute,  which  we  call  a  proprium  [of  God]  is 
his  Providence,  which  to  us  is  nothing  else  than  the  striving 
which  we  find  in  the  whole  of  Nature  and  in  individual 
things  to  maintain  and  preserve  their  own  existence.  For 
it  is  manifest  that  no  thing  could,  through  its  own  nature, 
seek  its  own  annihilation,  but,  on  the  contrary,  that  every 
thing  has  in  itself  a  striving  to  preserve  its  condition,  and 
to  improve  itself.  Following  these  definitions  of  ours  we,  10 
therefore,  posit  a  general  and  a  special  providence.  The 
general  [providence]  is  that  through  which  all  things  are 
produced  and  sustained  in  so  far  as  they  are  parts  of  the 
whole  of  Nature.  The  special  providence  is  the  striving  of 
each  thing  separately  to  preserve  its  existence  [each  thing, 
that  is  to  say],  considered  not  as  a  part  of  Nature,  but  as  a 
whole  [by  itself].  This  is  explained  by  the  following  example : 
All  the  limbs  of  man  are  provided  for,  and  cared  for,  in  so 
far  as  they  are  parts  of  man,  this  is  general  providence ; 
while  special  [providence]  is  the  striving  of  each  separate  20 
limb  (as  a  whole  in  itself,  and  not  as  a  part  of  man)  to 
preserve  and  maintain  its  own  well-being. 




THE  third  attribute,  we  say,  is  divine  predestination. 

1.  We  proved  before  that  God  cannot  omit  to  do  what 
he  does  ;  that  he  has,  namely,  made  everything  so  perfect 
that  it  cannot  be  more  perfect. 

2.  And,  at  the  same  time,  that  without  him  no  thing  can 
be,  or  be  conceived. 

It  remains  to  be  seen  now  whether  there  are  in  Nature 

10  any  accidental   things,  that  is  to   say,  whether  there  are 

any  things  which  may  happen  and  may  also  not  happen. 

Secondly,  whether  there  is  any  thing  concerning  which  we 

cannot  ask  why  it  is. 

Now  that  there  are  no  accidental  things  we  prove  thus  : 
That  which  has  no  cause  to  exist  cannot  possibly  exist ; 
that  which  is  accidental  has  no  cause  :  therefore  .  .  . 

The  first  is  beyond  all  dispute ;    the   second   we  prove 

thus  :    If   any  thing  that  is  accidental  has   a  definite  and 

certain  cause  why  it  should  exist,  then  it  must  necessarily 

20  exist ;  but  that  it  should  be  both  accidental  and  necessary 

at  the  same  time,  is  self-contradictory  ;  Therefore  .  .  . 

Perhaps  some  one  will  say,  that  an  accidental  thing  has 
indeed  no  definite  and  certain  cause,  but  an  accidental 
one.  If  this  should  be  so,  it  must  be  so  either  in  sensu  diviso 
or  in  sensu  composite,  that  is  to  say,  either  the  existence  of 
the  cause  is  accidental,  and  not  its  being  a  cause ;  or  it  is 
accidental  that  a  certain  thing  (which  indeed  must  neces 
sarily  exist  in  Nature)  should  be  the  cause  of  the  occurrence 
of  that  accidental  thing.  However,  both  the  one  and  the 
30  other  are  false. 



For,  as  regards  the  first,  if  the  accidental  something  is  i 
accidental  because  [the  existence  of]  its  cause  is  accidental, 
then  that  cause  must  also  be  accidental,  because  the  cause 
which  has  produced  it  is  also  accidental,  etsic  in  infinitum. 

And  since  it  has  already  been  proved,  that  all  things 
depend  on  one  single  cause,  this  cause  would  therefore  also 
have  to  be  accidental  :  which  is  manifestly  false. 

As  regards  the  second  :  if  the  cause  were  no  more  com 
pelled  to  produce  one  thing  than  another,  that  is,  [if  the 
cause  were  no  more  compelled]  to  produce  this  something  10 
than  not  to  produce  it,  then  it  would  be  impossible  at  once 
both  that  it  should  produce  it  and  that  it  should  not  produce 
it,  which  is  quite  contradictory. 

Concerning  the  second  [question  raised]  above,  whether 
there  is  no  thing  in  Nature  about  which  one  cannot  ask  why  it 
is,  this  remark  of  ours  shows  that  we  have  to  inquire  through 
what  cause  a  thing  is  real ;  for  if  this  [cause]  did  not  exist 
it  were  impossible  that  the  thing  should  exist.  Now,  we 
must  look  for  this  cause  either  in  the  thing  or  outside  the 
thing.  If,  however,  any  one  should  ask  for  a  rule  whereby  20 
to  conduct  this  inquiry,  we  say  that  none  whatever  seems 
necessary.  For  if  existence  pertains  to  the  nature  of  a  thing, 
then  it  is  certain  that  we  must  not  look  outside  it  for  its  cause  ; 
but  if  such  is  not  the  case,  then  we  must  always  look  outside 
the  thing  for  its  cause.  Since,  however,  the  first  pertains 
to  God  alone,  it  is  thereby  proved  (as  we  have  already  also 
proved  before)  that  God  alone  is  the  first  cause  of  all  things. 
From  this  it  is  also  evident  that  this  or  that  will  of  man  (since 
the  existence  of  the  will  does  not  pertain  to  its  essence)  must 
also  have  an  external  cause,  by  which  it  is  necessarily  3° 
caused  ;  that  this  is  so  is  also  evident  from  all  that  we  have 
said  in  this  chapter  ;  and  it  will  be  still  more  evident  when, 
in  the  second  part,  we  come  to  consider  and  discuss  the 
freedom  of  man. 

Against  all  this  others  object  :  how  is  it  possible  that 


i  God,  who  is  said  to  be  supremely  perfect,  and  the  sole 
cause,  disposer,  and  provider  of  all,  nevertheless  permits 
such  confusion  to  be  seen  everywhere  in  Nature?  Also, 
why  has  he  not  made  man  so  as  not  to  be  able  to  sin? 

Now,  in  the  first  place,  it  cannot  be  rightly  said  that 
there  is  confusion  in  Nature,  since  nobody  knows  all  the 
causes  of  things  so  as  to  be  able  to  judge  accordingly. 
This  objection,  however,  originates  in  this  kind  of  ignorance, 
namely,  that  they  have  set  up  general  Ideas,  with  which, 

10  they  think,  particular  things  must  agree  if  they  are  to  be 
perfect.  These  Ideas,  they  state,  are  in  the  understanding 
of  God,  as  many  of  Plato's  followers  have  said,  namely,  that 
these  general  Ideas  (such  as  Rational,  Animal,!  and  the  like) 
have  been  created  by  God  ;  and  although  those  who  follow 
Aristotle  say,  indeed,  that  these  things  are  not  real  things, 
only  things  of  Reason,  they  nevertheless  regard  them 
frequently  as  [real]  things,  since  they  have  clearly  said  that 
his  providence  does  not  extend  to  particular  things,  but 
only  to  kinds  ;  for  example,  God  has  never  exercised  his 

20  providence  over  Bucephalus,  &c.,  but  only  over  the  whole 
genus  Horse.  They  say  also  that  God  has  no  knowledge 
of  particular  and  transient  things,  but  only  of  the  general, 
which,  in  their  opinion,  are  imperishable.  We  have,  how 
ever,  rightly  considered  Jt  this  to  be  due  to  their  ignorance. 
For  it  is  precisely  the  particular  things,  and  they  alone,  that 
have  a  cause,  and  not  the  general,  because  they  are 

God  then  is  the  cause  of,  and  providence  over,  particular 
things  only.  If  particular  things  had  to  conform  to  some 

3o  other  Nature,  then  they  could  not  conform  to  their  own, 
and  consequently  could  not  be  what  they  truly  are.  For 
example,  if  God  had  made  all  human  beings  like  Adam 
before  the  fall,  then  indeed  he  would  only  have  created 
Adam,  and  no  Paul  nor  Peter ;  but  no,  it  is  just  perfection 
\  B  :  Rational- Animal.  tt  B :  to  consider. 


in  God,  that  he  gives  to  all  things,  from  the  greatest  to  the  i 
least,  their  essence,  or,  to  express  it  better,  that  he  has  all 
things  perfectly  in  himself. 

As  regards  the  other  [objection],  why  God  has  not  made 
mankind  so  that  they  should  not  sin,  to  this  it  may  serve  [as 
an  answer],  that  whatever  is  said  about  sin  is  only  said 
with  reference  to  us,  that  is,  as  when  we  compare  two  things 
with  each  other,  or  [consider  one  thing]  from  different 
points  of  view.  For  instance,  if  some  one  has  made  a  clock 
precisely  in  order  to  strike  and  to  show  the  hours,  and  the  10 
mechanism  quite  fulfils  the  aims  of  its  maker,  then  we  say  that 
it  is  good,  but  if  it  does  not  do  so,  then  we  say  that  it  is  bad, 
notwithstanding  that  even  then  it  might  still  be  good  if  only 
it  had  been  his  intention  to  make  it  irregular  and  to  strike 
at  wrong  times. 

We  say  then,  in  conclusion,  that  Peter  must,  as  is 
necessary,  conform  to  the  Idea  of  Peter,  and  not  to  the 
Idea  of  Man  ;  good  and  evil,  or  sin,  these  are  only  modes 
of  thought,  and  by  no  means  things,  or  any  thing  that  has 
reality,  as  we  shall  very  likely  show  yet  more  fully  in  what  20 
follows.  For  all  things  and  works  which  are  in  Nature 
are  perfect. 



HERE  we  shall  take  up  the  consideration  of  those  attributes  f 
which  are  commonly  attributed  to  God,  but  which,  never 
theless,  do  not  pertain  to  him  ;  as  also  of  those  through 
which  it  is  sought  to  prove  the  existence  of  God,  though 
in  vain ;  and  also  of  the  rules  of  accurate  definition. 

For  this  purpose,  we  shall  not  trouble  ourselves  very 
10  much  about  the  ideas  that  people  commonly  have  of  God, 
but  we  shall  only  inquire  briefly  into  what  the  Philosophers 
can  tell  us  about  it.  Now  these  have  defined  God  as  a 
being  existing  through  or  of  himself,  cause  of  all  things. 
Omniscient,  Almighty,  eternal,  simple,  infinite,  the  highest 
good,  of  infinite  compassion,  &c.  But  before  we  approach 
this  inquiry,  let  us  just  see  what  admissions  they  make 
to  us. 

f  As  regards  the  attributes  of  which  God  consists,  they  are  only 
infinite  substances,  each  of  which  must  of  itself  be  infinitely  perfect. 

20  That  this  must  necessarily  be  so,  we  are  convinced  by  clear  and 
distinct  reasons.  It  is  true,  however,  that  up  to  the  present  only 
two  of  all  these  infinites  are  known  to  us  through  their  own  essence; 
and  these  are  thought  and  extension.  All  else  that  is  commonly 
ascribed  to  God  is  not  any  attribute  of  his,  but  only  certain  modes 
which  may  be  attributed  to  him  either  in  consideration  of  all,  that 
is,  all  his  attributes,  or  in  consideration  of  one  attribute.  In  con 
sideration  of  all  [it  is  said],  for  instance,  that  he  is  eternal,  self- 
subsisting,  infinite,  cause  of  all  things,  immutable.  In  consideration 
of  one  [it  is  said],  for  instance,  that  he  is  omniscient,  wise,  &c., 

30  which  pertains  to  thought,  and,  again,  that  he  is  omnipresent,  fills 
all,  &c.,  which  pertains  to  extension. 



In  the  first  place,  they  say  that  it  is  impossible  to  give  i 
a  true  or  right  definition  of  God,  because,  according  to 
their  opinion,  there  can  be  no  definition  except  per  genus 
et  differentiam,  and  as  God  is  not  a  species  of  any 
genus,  he  cannot  be  defined  rightly,  or  according  to  the 

In  the  second  place,  they  say  that  God  cannot  be  defined, 
because  the  definition  must  describe  the  thing  itself  and 
also  positively ;  while,  according  to  their  standpoint,  our 
knowledge  of  God  cannot  be  of  a  positive,  but  only  of  a  10 
negative  kind ;  therefore  no  proper  definition  can  be  given 
of  God. 

They  also  say,  besides,  that  God  can  never  be  proved 
a  priori,  because  he  has  no  cause,  but  only  by  way  of 
probability,  or  from  his  effects. 

Since  by  these  assertions  of  theirs  they  admit  sufficiently 
that  their  knowledge  of  God  is  very  little  and  slight,  let  us 
now  proceed  to  examine  their  definition. 

In  the  first  place,  we  do  not  see  that  they  give  us  in  it  any 
attribute  or  attributes  through  which  it  can  be  known  what  20 
the  thing  (God)  is,t  but  only  some  propria  or  properties 
which  do,  indeed,  belong  to  a  thing,  but  never  explain  what 
the  thing  is.  For  although  self-subsisting,  being  the  cause  of 
all  things,  highest  good,  eternal  and  immutable,  &c.,  are 
peculiar  to  God  alone,  nevertheless,  from  those  properties 
we  cannot  know  what  that  being,  to  whom  these  properties 
pertain,  is,  and  what  attributes  he  has. 

It  is  now  also  time  for  us  to  consider  the  things  which 
they  ascribe  to  God,  and  which  do  not,  however,  pertain  to 
him,t  such  as  omniscient,  merciful,  wise,  and  so  forth,  which  30 
things,  since  they  are  only  certain  modes  of  the  thinking 
thing,  and  can  by  no  means  be,  or  be  understood  without 

t  That  is  to  say,  when  he  is  considered  as  all  that  he  is,  or  with 
regard  to  all  his  attributes ;  see  on  this  point  page  5  2  n. 

I  B  :  through  which  the  thing  (namely  God)  can  be  known. 


i  the  substances  t  whose  modes  II  they  are,  can,  con 
sequently,  also  not  be  attributed  to  him,  who  is  a  Being 
subsisting  without  the  aid  of  anything,  and  solely  through 

Lastly,  they  call  him  the  highest  good  ;  but  if  they  under 
stand  by  it  something  different  from  what  they  have  already 
said,  namely,  that  God  is  immutable,  and  a  cause  of  all  things, 
then  they  have  become  entangled  in  their  own  thought,  or 
are  unable  to  understand  themselves.  This  is  the  outcome 

10  of  their  misconception  of  good  and  evil,  for  they  believe 
that  man  himself,  and  not  God,  is  the  cause  of  his  sins  and 
wickedness — which,  according  to  what  we  have  already 
proved,  cannot  be  the  case,  else  we  should  be  compelled 
to  assert  that  man  is  also  the  cause  of  himself.  However, 
this  will  appear  yet  more  evident  when  we  come  to  consider 
the  will  of  man. 

It  is  necessary  that  we  should  now  unravel  their  specious 
arguments  wherewith  they  seek  to  excuse  their  ignorance 
in  Theology. 

20  First  of  all,  then,  they  say  that  a  correct  definition  must 
consist  of  a  "  genus  "  and  "  differentia."  Now,  although  all  the 
Logicians  admit  this,  I  do  not  know  where  they  get  it  from. 
And,  to  be  sure,  if  this  must  be  true,  then  we  can  know 
nothing  whatever.  For  if  it  is  through  a  definition  con 
sisting  of  genus  and  differentia  that  we  can  first  get  to  know 
a  thing  perfectly,  then  we  can  never  know  perfectly  the 
highest  genus,  which  has  no  genus  above  it.  Now  then  :  If 
the  highest  genus,  which  is  the  cause  of  our  knowledge  of 
all  other  things,  is  not  known,  much  less,  then,  can  the 

30  other  things  be  understood  or  known  which  are  explained 
by  that  genus.  However,  since  we  are  free,  and  do  not 
consider  ourselves  in  any  way  tied  to  their  assertions,  we 
shall,  in  accordance  with  true  logic,  propose  other  rules 

J  B  :  substance. 

tt  A:  essences  (wezens);  B:  modes  (wijzeri). 


of    definition,    namely,    on    the   lines    of    our   division    of  i 

Now  we  have  already  seen  that  the  attributes  (or,  as 
others  call  them,  substances)  are  things,  or,  to  express  our 
selves  better  and  more  aptly,  [constitute]  a  being  which 
subsists  through  itself,  and  therefore  makes  itself  known  and 
reveals  itself  through  itself. 

As  to  the  other  things,  we  see  that  they  are  but  modes  of 
the  attributes,  without  which  also  they  can  neither  be,  nor 
be  understood.     Consequently  definitions  must  be  of  two   10 
kinds  (or  sorts)  : 

1.  The  first,  namely,  are  those  of  attributes,  which  pertain 
to  a  self-subsisting  being,  these  need  no  genus,  or  anything, 
through    which    they    might     be     better    understood    or 
explained  :    for,   since   they   exist   as  attributes   of   a   self- 
subsisting  being,  they  also  become  known  through  them 

2.  The  second  [kind  of  definitions]  are  those  [of  things] 
which  do  not  exist  through  themselves,  but  only  through 
the  attributes  whose  modes  they  are,  and  through  which,  2o 
as  their  genus,  they  must  be  understood. 

And  this  is  [all  that  need  be  said]  concerning  their 
statement  about  definitions.  As  regards  the  other  [assertion], 
namely,  that  God  can  [not]  be  known  by  us  adequately, 
this  has  been  sufficiently  answered  by  D.  des  Cartes  in  his 
answers  to  the  objections  relating  to  these  things,  page  18. 

And  the  third  [assertion],  namely,  that  God  cannot  be 
proved  a  priori,  has  also  already  been  answered  by  us. 
Since  God  is  the  cause  of  himself,  it  is  enough  that  we  prove 
him  through  himself,  and  such  a  proof  is  also  much  more  30 
conclusive  than  the  a  posteriori  proof,  which  generally  rests 
only  on  external  causes. 



HERE,  before  we  proceed  to  something  else,  we  shall  briefly 
divide  the  whole  of  Nature — namely,  into  Natura  naturans 
and  Natura  naturata.  By  Natura  naturans  we  understand 
a  being  that  we  conceive  clearly  and  distinctly  through 
itself,  and  without  needing  anything  beside  itself  (like  all 
the  attributes  which  we  have  so  far  described),  that  is,  God. 
The  Thomists  likewise  understand  God  by  it,  but  their 
10  Natura  naturans  was  a  being  (so  they  called  it)  beyond  all 

The  Natura  naturata  we  shall  divide  into  two,  a  general, 
and  a  particular.  The  general  consists  of  all  the  modes 
which  depend  immediately  on  God,  of  which  we  shall  treat 
in  the  following  chapter  ;  the  particular  consists  of  all  the 
particular  things  which  are  produced  by  the  general  mode. 
So  that  the  Natura  naturata  requires  some  substance  J  in 
order  to  be  well  understood. 

J  A  :  substances ;  B  :  substance. 



Now,  as  regards  the  general  Natura  naturata,  or  the  modes, 
or  creations  which  depend  on,  or  have  been  created  by, 
God  immediately,  of  these  we  know  no  more  than  two, 
namely,  motion  in  matter,!  and  the  understanding  in  the 
thinking  thing.  These,  then,  we  say,  have  been  from  all 
eternity,  and  to  all  eternity  will  remain  immutable.  A 
work  truly  as  great  as  becomes  the  greatness  of  the  work- 
master.  10 

All  that  specially  concerns  Motion,  such  as  that  it  has  been 
from  all  eternity,  and  to  all  eternity  will  remain  immutable ;  that 
it  is  infinite  in  its  kind ;  that  it  can  neither  be,  nor  be  understood 
through  itself,  but  only  by  means  of  Extension, — all  this,  I  say, 
since  it  [Motion]  more  properly  belongs  to  a  treatise  on 
Natural  Science  rather  than  here,!  we  shall  not  consider  in 
this  place,  but  we  shall  only  say  this  about  it,  that  it  is  a 
Son,  Product,  or  Effect  created  immediately  by  God. 

As  regards  the  Understanding  in  the  thinking  thing,  this, 
like  the  first,  is  also  a  Son,  Product,  or  immediate  Creation  of  20 
God,  also  created  by  him  from  all  eternity,  and  remaining 
immutable   to   all   eternity.      It   has   but   one    function, It 

t  Note. — What  is  here  said  about  motion  in  matter  is  not  said 
seriously.  For  the  Author  still  intends  to  discover  the  cause  thereof, 
as  he  has  already  done  to  some  extent  a  posteriori.  But  it  can 
stand  just  as  it  is,  because  nothing  is  based  upon  it,  or  dependent 
thereon.  [B  omits  this  note.] 

J  In  A  and  B  the  words  "  since  it  ...  than  here "  follow 
immediately  after  "  Motion,"  at  the  beginning  of  the  sentence. 

tl  Literally  :  This  its  attribute  is  but  one.  30 



namely,  to  understand  clearly  and  distinctly  all  things  at  all 
times  ;  which  produces  invariably  an  infinite  or  most  perfect 
satisfaction,  which  cannot  omit  to  do  what  it  does.  Although 
what  we  have  just  said  is  sufficiently  self-evident,  still,  we 
shall  prove  it  more  clearly  afterwards  in  our  account  of  the 
Affects  of  the  Soul,  and  shall  therefore  say  no  more  about 
it  here. 


IN  order  to  explain  briefly  what  good  and  evil  are  in  them 
selves,  we  shall  begin  thus  : 

Some  things  are  in  our  understanding  and  not  I  in  Nature, 
and  so  they  are  also  only  our  own  creation,  and  their  pur 
pose  is  to  understand  things  distinctly  :  among  these  we 
include  all  relations,  which  have  reference  to  different  things, 
and  these  we  call  Entia  Rationis  [things  of  reason].  Now 
the  question  is,  whether  good  and  evil  belong  to  the  Entia  10 
Rationis  or  to  the  Entia  Realia  [real  things].  But  since  good 
and  evil  are  only  relations,  it  is  beyond  doubt  that  they  must 
be  placed  among  the  Entia  Rationis  ;  for  we  never  say  that 
something  is  good  except  with  reference  to  something  else 
which  is  not  so  good,  or  is  not  so  useful  to  us  as  some  other 
thing.  Thus  we  say  that  a  man  is  bad,  only  in  comparison 
with  one  who  is  better,  or  also  that  an  apple  is  bad,  in  com 
parison  with  another  which  is  good  or  better. 

All  this  could  not  possibly  be  said,  if  that  which  is  better 
or  good,  in  comparison  with  which  it  [the  bad]  is  so  called,  20 
did  not  exist. 

Therefore,  when  we  say  that  something  is  good,  we  only 
mean  that  it  conforms  well  to  the  general  Idea  which  we 
have  of  such  things.  But,H  as  we  have  already  said  before, 
the  things  must  agree  with  their  particular  Ideas,  whose 
essence  must  be  a  perfect  essence,  and  not  with  the  general 
*[ Ideas]*,  since  in  that  case  they  would  not  exist. 

As  to  confirming  what  we  have  just  said,  the  thing  is  clear 

J  B  :  not  such. 

II  A:  "And  therefore";  B:  «  Nevertheless." 


i  to  us ;  but  still,  to  conclude  our  remarks,  we  will  add  yet 
the  following  proofs  : 

All  things  which  are  in  Nature,  are  either  things  or 
actions.  Now  good  and  evil  are  neither  things  nor  actions. 
Therefore  good  and  evil  do  not  exist  in  Nature. 

For,  if  good  and  evil  are  things  or  actions,  then  they 
must  have  their  definitions.  But  good  and  evil  (as,  for 
example,  the  goodness  of  Peter  and  the  wickedness  of 
Judas)  have  no  definitions  apart  from  the  essence  of  Judas 

10  or  Peter,  because  this  alone  exists  in  Nature,  and  they  can 
not  be  defined  without  their  essence.  Therefore,  as  above 
— it  follows  that  good  and  evil  are  not  things  or  actions 
which  exist  in  Nature. 


ON    MAN 



HAVING,  in  the  first  part,  discoursed  on  God,  and  on  the 
universal  and  infinite  things,  we  shall  proceed  now,  in  the 
second  part,  to  the  treatment  of  particular  and  finite  things  ; 
though  not  of  all,  since  they  are  innumerable,  but  we  shall 
only  treat  of  those  which  concern  man  ;  and,  in  the  first 
place,  we  shall  consider  here  what  man  is,  in  so  far  as  he 
consists  of  certain  modes  (contained  in  the  two  attributes 
which  we  have  remarked  in  God).  I  say  of  certain  modes, 
for  I  by  no  means  think  that  man,  in  so  far  as  he  consists  of  Jo 
spirit,  soul,f  or  body,  is  a  substance.  Because,  already  at  the 

f  i.  Our  soul  is  either  a  substance  or  a  mode;  it  is  not  a  sub 
stance,  because  we  have  already  shown  that  there  can  be  no  finite 
substance ;  it  is  therefore  a  mode. 

2.  Being  a  mode,  then,  it  must  be  such  either  of  "substantial" 
extension  or  of  "  substantial  "  thought ;  not  of  extension,  because, 
&c. ;  therefore  of  thought. 

3.  "  Substantial "  Thought,  since  it  cannot  be  finite,  is  infinitely 
perfect  in  its  kind,  and  an  attribute  of  God. 

4.  Perfect  thought  must  have  a  Knowledge,  Idea,  or  mode  of  20 
thought  of  all  and  everything  that  is  real,  of  substances  as  well  as 

of  modes,  without  exception. 

5.  We  say,  that  is  real,  because  we  are  not  speaking  here  of  a 
Knowledge,  Idea,  &c.,  which  completely  knows  the  nature  of  all 
things   as   involved   in  their   essence,  apart   from  their   individual 
existence,  but  only  of  the  Knowledge,  Idea,  &c.,  of  the  particular 
things  which  are  constantly  coming  into  existence. 

6.  This   Knowledge,  Idea,  &c.,  of  each  particular   thing  which 
happens  to  be  real  is,  we  say,  the  soul  of  this  particular  thing. 

7.  All  and  sundry  particular  things  that  are  real,  have  become  3° 
such  through  motion  and  rest,  and  this  is  true  of  all  the  modes  of 

"  substantial  "  extension  which  we  call  bodies. 

8.  The  differences  among  these  result  solely  from  the  varying 


i  beginning  of  this  book,  we  proved  (i)  that  no  substance  can 
have  a  beginning ;  (2)  that  one  substance  cannot  produce 
another ;  and  lastly  (3),  that  there  cannot  be  two  like  sub 

As  man  has  not  been  in  existence  from  eternity,  is  finite, 
and  is  like  many  men,  he  can  be  no  substance  ;  so  that  all  that 
he  has  of  thought  are  only  modes  of  the  attribute  thought  which 
we  have  attributed  to  God.  And,  again,  all  that  he  has  of 
form,  motion,  and  other  things,  are  likewise  [modes]  of  the 

10  other  attribute  which  is  attributed  *by  us*  to  God. 

And  although  from  this,  [namely,]  that  the  nature  of  man 
can  neither  be,  nor  be  understood  without  the  attributes 
which  we  ourselves  admit  to  constitute  substance,  some  try 
to  prove  that  man  is  a  substance,  yet  this  has  no  other 
ground  than  false  suppositions.  For,  since  the  nature  of 

proportions  of  motion  and  rest,  through  which  this  is  so,  and  not 
so — this  is  this,  and  not  that. 

9.  From  such  proportion  of  motion    and  rest  comes    also  the 
existence  of  our  body  ;  of  which,  consequently,  no  less  than  of  all 

20  other  things,  there  must  be  a  Knowledge,  an  Idea,  &c.,  in  the 
thinking  thing,  and  hence  at  once  also  our  soul. 

10.  This  body  of  ours,  however,  had  a  different  proportion  of 
motion  and  rest  when  it  was  an  unborn  embryo ;  and  in  due  course, 
when  we  are  dead,  it  will  have  a  different  proportion  again  •  none 
the  less  there  was    at    that    time   [before   our   birth],   and    there 
will  be  then  [after  death]  an  idea,  knowledge,  &c.,  of  our  body  in 
the  thinking  thing,  just  as  there  is  now ;  but  by  no  means  the  same 
[idea,  &c.],   since   it   is   now    differently  proportioned  as  regards 
motion  and  rest. 

30  ii.  To  produce,  in  "  substantial  "  thought,  such  an  idea,  know 
ledge,  mode  of  thought  as  ours  now  is,  what  is  required  is,  not  any 
body  you  please  (then  it  would  have  to  be  known  differently  from 
what  it  is),  but  just  such  a  body  having  this  proportion  of  motion 
and  rest,  and  no  other :  for  as  the  body  is,  so  is  the  Soul,  Idea, 
Knowledge,  &c. 

12.  As  soon,  then,  as  a  body  has  and  retains  this  proportion 
[which  our  body  has],  say,  e.g.,  of  i  to  3,  then  that  soul  and  that 


matter  or  body  existed  before  the  form  of  this  human  body  i 
existed,  that  nature  cannot  be  peculiar  to  the  human  body, 
because  it  is  clear  that  during  the  time  when  man  was  not, 
it  could  never  belong  to  the  nature  of  man. 

And  what  they  set  up  as  a  fundamental  principle,  [namely,] 
that  that  pertains  to  the  nature  of  a  thing,  without  which  the 
thing  can  neither  be,  nor  be  understood,  we  deny.  For  we  have 
already  shown  that  without  God  no  thing  can  be  or  be  under 
stood.  That  is,  God  must  first  be  and  be  understood  before 
these  particular  things  can  be  and  be  understood.  We  have  10 
also  shown  that  genera  do  not  belong  to  the  nature  of 
definition,  but  that  only  such  things  as  cannot  exist 
without  others,  can  also  not  be  understood  without  these. 
This  being  so,  what  kind  of  a  rule  shall  we,  then,  state, 
whereby  it  shall  be  known  what  belongs  to  the  nature  of  a 
thing  ? 

body  will  be  like  ours  now  are,  being  indeed  constantly  subject  to 
change,  but  to  none  so  great  that  it  will  exceed  the  limits  of  i  to  3 ; 
though  as  much  as  it  changes,  so  much  also  does  the  soul  always 
change.  20 

13.  And  this  change  in  us,  resulting  from  other  bodies  acting 
upon    us,    cannot    take    place    without    the    soul,   which    always 
changes    correspondingly,   becoming   aware    of  the   change.     And 
[the    consciousness    of]  J     this    change    is    really    what   we    call 

14.  But  when  other  bodies  act  so  violently  upon  ours  that  the 
proportion  of  motion  [to  rest]  cannot  remain  i  to  3,  that  means 
death,  and  the  annihilation  of  the  Soul,  since  this  is  only  an  Idea, 
Knowledge,  &c.,  of  this   body  having   this   proportion  of  motion 
and  rest.  30 

15.  Still,  since  it  [the  soul]  is  a  mode  in  the  thinking  substance 
it  could  also  know,  and  love  this  [substance]  as  well  as  that  of 
extension,  and  by  uniting  with  substances  (which  remain  always  the 
same)  it  could  make  itself  eternal. 

I  This  emendation  was  suggested  by  Boehmer. 
Jl  Gevoel  [sensibility  ?]. 


Well,  the  rule  is  this  :  That  belongs  to  the  nature  of  a 
thing,  without  which  the  thing  can  neither  be,  nor  be  under 
stood  ;  not  merely  so,  however,  but  in  such  wise  that  the 
judgment  must  be  convertible,  that  is,  that  the  predicate  can 
neither  be,  nor  be  understood  without  the  thing.  Of  these 
modes,  then,  of  which  man  consists,  we  shall  begin  to  treat 
at  the  commencement  of  the  following  first  chapter. 



To  begin  our  consideration  of  the  modes  t  of  which  man 
consists,  we  shall  state,  (i)  what  they  are,  (2)  their  effects, 
and  (3)  their  cause. 

As  regards  the  first,  let  us  begin  with  those  that  are  first 
known  to  us  :  namely,  certain  ideas  or  the  consciousness 
of  the  knowledge  of  ourselves,  and  of  the  things  which  are 
outside  us. 

Now   we   get  these  ideas  ft   (i)    either   merely  through  I0 
belief  (which  belief  arises  either  from  experience,  or  from 
hearsay),  (2)  or,  in  the  second  place,  we  acquire  them  by 
way  of  a  true  belief,  (3)  or,  thirdly,  we  have  them  as  the 
result  of  clear  and  distinct  conception. 

The  first  is  commonly  subject  to  error. 

The  second  and  third,  however,  although  they  differ  from 
one  another,  cannot  err. 

To  make  all  this  somewhat  clearer  and  more  intelligible, 
we  shall  give  the  following  illustration  taken  from  the  Rule 
of  Three.  20 

Some  one  ttt  has  just  heard  it  said  that  if,  in  the  Rule  of 
Three,  the  second  number  is  multiplied  by  the  third,  and 
then  divided  by  the  first,  a  fourth  number  will  then  be 
obtained  which  has  the  same  relation  to  the  third  as  the 

f  The  modes  of  which  Man  consists  are  ideas,  differentiated  as 
Opinion,  true  Belief,  and  clear  and  distinct  Knowledge,  produced 
by  objects,  each  in  its  own  way. 

ft  These  ideas  of  this  Belief  are  put  first  on  page  69  ;  here  and 
there  they  are  also  called  opinion,  which  they  really  are. 

ttt  This  one  merely  forms  an  opinion,  or,  as  is  commonly  said,   30 
believes  through  hearsay  only.      [B  omits  this  note.] 



i  second  has  to  the  first.  And  notwithstanding  the  possi 
bility  that  he  who  put  this  before  him  might  have  been 
lying,  he  still  made  his  calculations  accordingly,  and  he  did 
so  without  having  acquired  any  more  knowledge  of  the  Rule 
of  Three  than  a  blind  man  has  of  colour,  so  that  whatever 
he  may  have  said  about  it,  he  simply  repeated  as  a  parrot 
repeats  what  it  has  been  taught. 

Another,t  having  a  more  active  intelligence,  is  not  so 
easily  satisfied  with  mere  hearsay,  but  tests  it  by  some 

10  actual  calculations,  and  when  he  finds  that  they  agree  with 
it,  then  he  gives  credence  to  it.  But  we  have  rightly  said 
that  this  one  also  is  subject  to  error ;  for  how  can  he 
possibly  be  sure  that  his  experience  of  a  few  particulars  can 
serve  him  as  a  rule  for  all  ? 

A  third,ff  who  is  not  satisfied  with  hearsay,  because  it 
may  deceive,  nor  with  experience  of  a  few  particulars, 
because  this  cannot  possibly  serve  as  a  rule,  examines  it  in 
the  light  of  true  Reason,  which,  when  properly  applied,  has 
never  deceived.  This  then  tells  him  that  on  account  of 

20  the  nature  of  the  proportion  in  these  numbers  it  had  to  be 
so,  and  could  not  happen  otherwise. 

A  fourth, fit  however,  having  the  clearest  knowledge  of 
all,  has  no  need  of  hearsay,  or  experience,  or  the  art  of  reason 
ing,  because  by  his  penetration  he  sees  the  proportion  in  t 
all  such  calculations  immediately.^ 

f  This  one  thinks  or  believes  not  simply  through  hearsay,  but 
from  experience  :  and  these  are  the  two  kinds  of  people  who  have 
[mere]  opinions.  [B  omits  this  note.] 

ft  This  one  is  certain  through  true  belief,  which  can  never 
30  deceive  him,  and  he  is  properly  called  a  believer. 

ttt  But  this  last  one  is  never  [merely]  of  opinion,  nor  a  [mere] 
believer,  but  sees  the  things  themselves,  not  through  something 
else,  but  through  the  things  themselves. 

t  A:  "and";  B:  "in." 

tt  B  adds  here,  in  the  body  of  the  text,  the  substance  of  the 
above  two  notes  on  the  third  and  fourth  kinds  of  knowledge. 



WE  come  now  to  the  consideration  of  the  effects  of  the 
different  grades  of  knowledge,  of  which  we  spoke  in  the 
preceding  chapter,  and,  in  passing  as  it  were,  we  shall 
explain  what(Opinion,  Belief,  and  clear  Knowledge  are. 

The  first  [kind  of  knowledge],  then,  we  call  Opinion, 
the  second  Belief,  but  the  third  is  what  we  call  clear 
Knowledge.^  10 

We  call  it  Opinion  because  it  is  subject  to  error,  and  has 
no  place  when  we  are  sure  of  anything,  but  only  in  those 
cases  when  we  are  said  to  guess  and  to  surmise.  The  second 
we  call  Belief,  because  the  things  we  apprehend  only  with 
our  reason  are  not  seen  by  us,  but  are  only  known  to  us 
through  the  conviction  of  our  understanding  that  it  must 
be  so  and  not  otherwise.  But  we  call  that  clear  Knowledge 
which  comes,  not  from  our  being  convinced  by  reasons, 
but  from  our  feeling  and  enjoying  the  thing  itself,  and  it 
surpasses  the  others  by  far.  20 

After  these  preliminary  remarks  let  us  now  turn  to  their 
effects.  Of  these  we  say  this,  namely,  that  from  the  first 
proceed  all  the  "  passions"  which  are  opposed  to  good 
reason  ;  from  the  second,  the  good  desires ;  and  from  the 
third,  true  and  sincere  Love,  with  all  its  offshoots. 

We  thus  maintain  that  Knowledge  is  the  proximate  cause 
of  all  the  "  passions  "  in  the  soul.  For  we  consider  it  once 
for  all  impossible  that  any  one,  who  neither  thinks  nor  knows 
in  any  of  the  preceding  ways  and  modes,  should  be 
capable  of  being  incited  to  Love  or  Desire  or  any  other  30 

mode  of  Will. 

t  B  omits  this  sentence. 



HERE,  then,  let  us  see  how,  as  we  have  said,  the  passions 
derive  their  origin  from  opinion.  To  do  this  well  and 
intelligently  we  shall  take  some  special  ones,  and  prove 
what  we  say  by  using  these  as  illustrations. 

Let  Surprise,  then,  be  the  first.  This  is  found  in  one  who 
knows  a  thing  after  the  first  manner  [of  Knowledge]  ;  t  for, 
10  since  from  a  few  particulars  he  draws  a  conclusion  which  is 
general,  he  stands  surprised  whenever  he  sees  anything 
that  goes  against  his  conclusion  ;  t  like  one  who,  having 
never  seen  any  sheep  except  with  short  tails,  is  surprised 
at  the  sheep  from  Morocco  which  have  long  ones.  So  it  is 

J  A  refers  to  the  following  note  already  here  ;  B,  at  the  next 

f  This  should  on  no  account  be  taken  to  mean  that  a  formal 
inference  must  always  precede  astonishment ;  on  the  contrary,  it 
exists  also  without  that,  namely,  when  we  tacitly  believe  that  a  thing 

20  is  [always]  so,  and  not  different  from  what  we  are  accustomed  to 
see  it,  hear  or  think  about  it,  &c.  For  example,  Aristotle  says,  a 
dog  is  a  barking  animal,  therefore  he  concludes,  whatever  barks  is 
a  dog ;  but  when  a  peasant  says  a  dog,  he  means  tacitly  just  the 
same  that  Aristotle  did  with  his  definition.  So  that  when  the  peasant 
hears  the  barking  he  says,  a  dog  ;  and  so,  if  they  had  heard  some 
other  kind  of  animal  bark,  the  peasant,  who  had  drawn  no  [explicit] 
inference,  would  stand  just  as  astonished  as  Aristotle,  who  had  drawn 
an  inference.  Furthermore,  when  we  become  aware  of  something 
about  which  we  had  never  thought  before,  it  is  not  really  such  the 

30  like  of  which,  whether  as  a  whole  or  in  part,  we  have  not  known 
before,  only  it  is  not  so  constituted  in  all  respects,  or  we  have  never 
been  affected  by  it  in  the  same  way,  &c. 



related  of  a  peasant  that  he  had  persuaded  himself  that  i 
beyond  his  fields  there  were  no  others,  but  when  he  hap 
pened  to  miss  a  cow,  and  was  compelled  to  go  and  look  for 
her  far  away,  he  was  surprised  at  the  great  number  of  fields 
that  there  were  beyond  his  few  acres.  And,  to  be  sure,  this 
must  also  be  the  case  with  many  Philosophers  who  have 
persuaded  themselves  that  beyond  this  field  or  little  globe, 
on  which  they  are,  there  are  no  more  [worlds]  (because  they 
have  seen  no  others).  But  surprise  is  never  felt  by  him 
who  draws  true  inferences.  This  is  the  first.  10 

The  second  is  Love.l  Since  this  arises  either  from  true 
ideas,  or  from  opinion,  or,  lastly,  from  hearsay  only,  we 
shall  see  first  how  [it  arises]  from  opinion,  then  how  [it 
arises]  from  [true]  ideas  ;  for  the  first  tends  to  our  ruin,  and 
the  second  to  our  supreme  happiness ;  and  then  [we  shall 
see  how  it  arises]  from  the  last. 

t  The  substance  of  the  next  three  paragraphs  is  given  in  the 
following  simpler  order  in  B  : 

The  second  is  Love.  This  arises  either,  i,  from  hearsay,  or 
2,  from  opinion,  or  3,  from  true  ideas.  20 

As  regards  the  first,  we  generally  observe  it  in  the  attitude  of 
children  to  their  father ;  because  their  father  tells  them  this  or  that 
is  good  they  incline  towards  it,  without  knowing  anything  more 
about  it.  We  see  it  also  in  those  who,  from  Love,  give  their 
lives  for  the  Fatherland,  and  also  in  those  who  from  hearsay  about 
something  fall  in  love  with  it. 

As  regards  the  second,  it  is  certain  that  whenever  any  one  sees, 
or  thinks  he  sees,  something  good,  he  is  always  inclined  to  unite 
himself  with  it,  and,  for  the  sake  of  the  good  which  he  discerns 
therein,  he  chooses  it  as  the  best,  outside  which  he  then  knows  30 
nothing  better  or  more  agreeable.  Yet  if  ever  it  happens  (as  it 
mostly  does  happen  in  these  things)  that  he  gets  to  know  something 
better  than  this  good  at  present  known  to  him,  then  his  love  changes 
immediately  from  the  one  (first)  to  the  other  (second).  All  this  we 
shall  show  more  clearly  when  we  treat  of  the  freedom  of  man. 

As  to  love  from  true  ideas,  as  this  is  not  the  place  to  speak  of  it, 
we  shall  pass  it  over  for  the  present.  [See  note  f  on  page  72.] 


i  As  regards  the  first,  it  is  certain  that  whenever  any  one 
sees,  or  thinks  he  sees,  something  good,  he  is  always  inclined 
to  unite  himself  with  it,  and,  for  the  sake  of  the  good  which 
he  discerns  therein,  he  chooses  it  as  the  best,  outside  which 
he  then  knows  nothing  better  or  more  agreeable.  Yet  if 
ever  it  happens  (as  it  mostly  does  happen  in  these  things) 
that  he  gets  to  know  something  better  than  this  good  at 
present  known  to  him,  then  his  love  changes  immediately 
from  the  one  (first)  to  the  other  (second).  All  this  we  shall 

10  show  more  clearly  when  we  treat  of  the  freedom  of  man. 

As  to  love  from  true  ideas,t  since  this  is  not  the  the  place 
to  speak  of  it,  we  shall  pass  it  over  now,  and  speak  of  the 
third,  and  last,  namely,  the  Love  that  comes  from  hearsay 
only.  This  we  generally  observe  in  the  attitude  of  children 
to  their  father  :  because  their  father  tells  them  that  this  or 
that  is  good  they  incline  towards  it,  without  knowing  any 
thing  more  about  it.  We  see  it  also  in  those  who  from 
Love  give  their  lives  for  the  Fatherland,  and  also  in  those 
who  from  hearsay  about  some  thing  fall  in  love  with  it. 

20  Next,  Hatred,  the  exact  opposite  of  love,  arises  from 
error  which  is  the  outcome  of  opinion.  For  when  some 
one  has  come  to  the  conclusion  that  a  certain  thing  is 
good,  and  another  happens  to  do  something  to  the  detri 
ment  of  the  same  thing,  then  there  arises  in  him  a  hatred 
against  the  one  who  did  it,  and  this,  as  we  shall  explain 
afterwards,  could  never  happen  if  the  true  good  were 
known.  For,  in  comparison  with  the  true  good,  all  indeed 
that  is,  or  is  conceived,  is  naught  but  wretchedness  itself  ; 
and  is  not  such  a  lover  of  what  is  wretched  much  more 

30  deserving  of  pity  than  of  hatred  ? 

Hatred,  lastly,  comes  also  from  mere  hearsay,  as  we  see 
it  in  the  Turks  against  Jews  and  Christians,  in  the  Jews 

f  Love  that  comes  from  true  ideas  or  clear  knowledge  is  not 
considered  here,  as  it  is  not  the  outcome  of  opinion  ;  see,  however, 
chapter  xxii.  about  it. 


against  the  Turks  and  Christians,  in  the  Christians  against  the   i 
Jews  and  Turks,  &c.    For,  among  all  these,  how  ignorant  is 
the  one  multitude  of  the  religion  and  morals  of  the  others  ! 

Desire.  Whether  (as  some  will  have  it)  it  consists  only  in 
a  longing  or  inclination  to  obtain  what  is  wanting,  or  (as 
others  will  have  it  t)  to  retain  the  things  which  we  already 
enjoy,  it  is  certain  that  it  cannot  be  found  to  have  come 
upon  any  one  except  for  an  apparent  good  [sub  speciebom]. 
It  is  therefore  clear  that  Desire,  as  also  Love  which  we  have 
already  discussed,  is  the  outcome  of  the  first  kind  of  know-  10 
ledge.  For  if  any  one  has  heard  that  a  certain  thing  is 
good,  he  feels  a  longing  and  inclination  for  the  same,  as  may 
be  seen  in  the  case  of  an  invalid  who,  through  hearing  the 
doctor  say  that  such  or  such  a  remedy  is  good  for  his  ailment, 
at  once  longs  for  the  same,  *and  feels  a  desire  for  it.* 

Desire  arises  also  from  experience,  as  may  be  seen  in  the 
practice  of  doctors,  who  when  they  have  found  a  certain 
remedy  good  several  times  are  wont  to  regard  it  t  as  some 
thing  unfailing. 

All  that  we  have  just  said  of  these,  the  same  we  can  say  20 
of  all  other  passions,  as  is  clear  to  every  one.     And  as,  in 
what  follows,  we  shall  begin  to  inquire  which  of  them  are 
rational,  and  which  of  them  are  irrational,  we  shall  leave 
the  subject  now,  and  say  no  more  about  it. 

What  has  now  been  said  of  these  few  though  most 
important  [passions]  can  also  be  said  of  all  others  ;  Jt  and 
with  this  we  conclude  the  subject  of  the  Passions  which 
arise  from  Opinion. 

f  The  first  definition  is  the  best,   because  when   the  thing  is 
enjoyed  the  desire  ceases ;  the  form  [of  consciousness]  which  then   30 
prompts  us  to  retain  the  thing  is  not  desire,  but  a  fear  of  losing  the 
thing  loved. 

t  B :  are  wont  to  resort  to  it. 

t|  B  omits  the  first  half  of  the  concluding  sentence  ('«  What  .  .  . 
others  "). 



SINCE  we  have  shown  in  the  preceding  chapter  how  the 
Passions  arise  from  the  error  of  Opinion,  let  us  now  see 
here  the  effects  of  the  two  other  modes  of  Knowing.  And 
first  of  all,  [the  effect]  of  what  we  have  called  True 

This  shows  us,  indeed,  what  a  thing  ought  to  be,  but  not 
10  what  it  really  is.  And  this  is  the  reason  why  it  can  never 
unite  us  with  the  object  of  our  belief.  I  say,  then,  that  it 
only  teaches  us  what  the  thing  ought  to  be,  and  not  what  it 
is  ;  between  these  two  there  is  a  great  difference.  For,  as 
we  remarked  a  propos  of  the  example  taken  from  the  rule  of 
three,  when  any  one  can,  by  the  aid  of  proportion,  find  a 
fourth  number  that  shall  be  related  to  the  third  as  the  second 
is  to  the  first,  then  (having  used  division  and  multiplication) 
he  can  say  that  the  four  numbers  must  be  proportional ; 

f  Belief  is  a  strong  proof  based  on  Reasons,  whereby  I  am  con- 
20  vinced  in  my  mind  that  the  thing  is  really,  and  just  such,  outside 
my  understanding,  as  I  am  convinced  in  my  mind  that  it  is.  I  say, 
a  strong  proof  based  on  Reasons,  in  order  thereby  to  distinguish  it 
both  from  Opinion,  which  is  always  doubtful  and  liable  to  error,  and 
from  Knowledge  which  does  not  consist  in  being  convinced  by 
Reasons,  but  in  an  immediate  union  with  the  thing  itself.  I  say, 
that  the  thing  is  really  and  just  such  outside  my  understanding — 
really,  because  reasons  cannot  deceive  me  in  this,  for  otherwise  they 
would  not  be  different  from  opinion.  Just  such,  for  it  can  only  tell 
me  what  the  thing  ought  to  be,  and  not  what  it  really  is,  otherwise 
30  it  would  not  be  different  from  Knowing.  Outside,  for  it  makes  us 
enjoy  intellectually  not  what  is  in  us,  but  what  is  outside  us. 



and  although  that  is  so,  he  speaks  of  it  none  the  less  as  of  a  i 
thing  that  is  beyond  him.  But  when  he  comes  to  see  the 
proportion  in  the  way  which  we  have  shown  in  the  fourth  J 
example,  then  he  says  with  truth  that  the  thing  is  so,  because 
then  it  is  in  him  and  not  beyond  him.  *  Let  *  this  *  suffice  * 
as  regards  the  first  [effect]. 

The  second  effect  of  true  belief  is  that  it  brings  us  to  a 
clearer  understanding,  through  which  we  love  God,  and  thus 
it  makes  us  intellectually  aware  of  the  things  which  are  not 
in  us,  but  outside  us.  10 

The  third  effect  is,  that  it  gives  us  the  knowledge  of  good 
and  evil,  and  shows  us  all  the  passions  which  should  be 
suppressed.  And  as  we  have  already  said  that  the  passions 
which  come  from  opinion  are  liable  to  great  evil,  it  is  worth 
the  pains  to  see  how  these  also  are  sifted  out  by  this  second 
kind  of  knowledge,  so  that  we  may  see  what  is  good  and 
what  is  bad  in  them. 

To  do  so  conveniently,  let  us,  using  the  same  method  as 
before,  look  at  them  closely,  so  that  we  may  know  through 
it  which  of  them  should  be  chosen  and  which  rejected,  ao 
But,  before  proceeding  to  this,  let  us  first  state  briefly  what 
is  the  good  and  evil  of  man. 

We  have  already  said  before  that  all  things  are  necessarily 
what  they  are,  and  that  in  Nature  there  is  no  good  and  no  evil. 
So  that  whatever  we  want  man  to  be  *  [in  this  respect]  * 
must  refer  to  his  kind,  which  is  nothing  else  than  a  thing  of 
Reason.  And  when  we  have  conceived  in  our  mind  an  Idea 
of  a  perfect  man,  it  should  make  us  look  (when  we  examine 
ourselves)  to  see  whether  we  have  any  means  of  attaining  to 
such  perfection.  30 

Hence,  then,  whatever  advances  us  towards  perfection, 
we  call  good,  and,  on  the  contrary,  what  hinders,  or  also 
what  does  not  advance  us  toward  it,  bad. 

I  must  therefore,  I  say,  conceive  a  perfect  man,  if  I  want 
I  A  :  third  ;  B  :  fourth. 


i  to  assert  anything  concerning  the  good  and  evil  of  man, 
because  if  I  were  to  consider  the  good  and  evil  *  of  some 
individual  man,*  say,  e.g.,  of  Adam,  I  should  be  confusing  a 
real  thing  (ens  reale)  with  a  thing  of  Reason  (ens  Rationis], 
which  must  be  most  scrupulously  avoided  by  an  upright 
Philosopher,  for  reasons  which  we  shall  state  in  the  sequel, 
or  on  another  occasion.  Furthermore,  since  the  destiny  of 
Adam,  or  of  any  other  individual  creature,  is  not  known  to 
us  except  through  the  result,  so  *  it  follows  *  that  what  we 

10  can  say  even  of  the  destiny  of  man  must  be  based  on  the 
idea  which  our  understanding  forms  of  a  perfect  man,t 
which  destiny,  since  it  is  a  thing  of  Reason,  we  may  well 
know  ;  so  also,  as  already  remarked,  are  good  and  evil, 
which  are  only  modes  of  thinking. 

To  come  gradually  to  the  point :  We  have  already  pointed 
out  before  how  the  movement,  passions,  and  activities  of  the 
soul  arise  from  ideas,  and  these  ideas  we  have  divided  into 
four  kinds,  namely,  [according  as  they  are  based  on]  mere 
hearsay,  experience,  belief,  clear  knowledge.  And  from 

20  what  we  have  now  seen  of  the  effects  of  all  these,  it  is  evident 
that  the  fourth,  namely,  clear  knowledge,  is  the  most  perfect 
of  all.  For  opinion  often  leads  us  into  error.  True  belief  is 
good  only  because  it  is  the  way  to  true  knowledge,  and 
awakens  us  to  things  which  are  really  lovable.  So  that  the 
final  end  that  we  seek,  and  the  highest  that  we  know,  is  true 
knowledge.  But  even  this  true  knowledge  varies  with  the 
objects  that  come  before  it  :  the  better  the  object  is  with 
which  it  happens  to  unite  itself,  so  much  the  better  also  is 
this  knowledge.  And,  for  this  reason,  he  is  the  most  perfect 

30  man  who  is  united  with  God  (who  is  the  most  perfect  being 
of  all),  and  so  enjoys  him. 

f  For  from  no  individual  creature  can  one  derive  an  Idea  that  is 
perfect ;  for  the  perfection  of  this  object  itself,  [that  is,]  whether  it 
is  really  perfect  or  not,  cannot  be  deduced  except  from  a  general 
perfect  Idea,  or  Ens  Rationis. 


Now,  in  order  to  find  out  what  is  good  and  bad  in  the 
affects  or  passions,  let  us,  as  suggested,  take  them  one  by 
one.  And  first  of  all,  Surprise.  This,  since  it  arises  either 
from  ignorance  or  prejudice,  is  an  imperfection  in  the 
man  who  is  subject  to  this  perturbance.  I  say  an  imper 
fection,  because,  through  itself,  surprise  does  not  lead  to 
any  evil. 



LOVE,  which  is  nothing  else  than  the  enjoyment  of  a  thing 
and  union  therewith,  we  shall  divide  according  to  the  quali 
ties  of  its  object ;  the  object,  that  is,  which  man  seeks  to 
enjoy,  and  to  unite  himself  with. 

Now  some  objects  are  in  themselves  transient;  others, 
indeed,  are  not  transient  by  virtue  of  their  cause.     There  is 
yet  a  third  that  is  eternal  and  imperishable  through  its  own 
10   power  and  might. 

The  transient  are  all  the  particular  things  which  did  not 
exist  from  all  time,  or  I  have  had  a  beginning. 

The  others  are  all  those  modes  :ft  which  we  have  stated  to 
be  the  cause  of  the  particular  modes. 

But  the  third  is  God,  or,  what  we  regard  as  one  and  the 
same,  Truth. 

Love,  then,  arises  from  the  idea  and  knowledge  that  we 
have  of  a  thing  ;  and  according  as  the  thing  shows  itself 
greater  and  more  glorious,  so  also  is  our  love  greater. 
20  In  two  ways  it  is  possible  to  free  ourselves  from  love  : 
either  by  getting  to  know  something  better,  or  by  discovering 
that  the  loved  object,  which  is  held  *  by  us*  to  be  some 
thing  great  and  glorious,  brings  in  its  train  much  woe  and 

It  is  also  characteristic  of  love  that  we  never  think 
of  emancipating  ourselves  from  it  (as  from  surprise  and 
other  passions)  ;  and  this  for  the  following  two  reasons : 
(i)  because  it  is  impossible,  (2)  because  it  is  necessary  that 
we  should  not  be  released  from  the  same. 

30  I  B  :  but.  H  B  :  the  general  modes. 


ON  LOVE  79 

It  is  impossible  because  it  does  not  depend  on  us,  but  i 
only  on  the  good  and  useful  which  we  discern  in  the  object ; 
it  is  necessary  that  these  should  never  have  become  known 
to  us,  if  we  would  not  *  or  should  not  *  love  it ;  and  this  is 
not  a  matter  of  our  free  choice,  or  dependent  on  us,  for 
if  we  knew  nothing,  it  is  certain  that  we  should  also  be 

It  is  necessary  that  we  should  not  be  released  from  it, 
because,  owing  to  the  weakness  of  our  nature,  we  could  not 
exist  without  enjoying  something  with  which  we  become  10 
united,  and  from  which  we  draw  strength. 

Now  which  of  these   three  kinds  of  objects  are  we  to 
choose  or  to  reject  ? 

As  regards  the  transient  (since,  as  remarked,  we  must, 
owing  to  the  weakness  of  our  nature,  necessarily  love 
something  and  become  united  with  it  in  order  to  exist),  it 
is  certain  that  our  nature  becomes  nowise  strengthened 
through  our  loving,  and  becoming  united  with,  these,  J 
for  they  are  weak  themselves,  and  the  one  cripple  cannot 
carry  the  other.  And  not  only  do  they  not  advance  us,  but  20 
they  are  even  harmful  to  us.  For  we  have  said  that  love  is 
a  union  with  the  object  which  our  understanding  judges  to  be 
good  and  glorious ;  and  by  this  we  mean  such  a  union 
whereby  both  the  lover  H  and  what  is  loved  become  one 
and  the  same  thing,  or  together  constitute  one  whole.  He, 
therefore,  is  indeed  always  wretched  who  is  united  to 
transient  things.  For,  since  these  are  beyond  his  power, 
and  subject  to  many  accidents,  it  is  impossible  that,  when 
they  are  affected,  he  should  be  free  from  these  affects.  And, 
consequently,  we  conclude  :  If  those  who  love  transient  30 
things  that  have  some  measure  of  reality  are  so  wretched, 
how  wretched  must  they  be  who  love  honour,  riches,  and 
pleasures,  which  have  no  reality  whatever  ! 

t  B  :  with  things  which  are  transient, 
tt  A  and  B  :  love. 


i  Let  this  suffice  to  show  us  how  Reason  teaches  us  to  keep 
away  from  things  so  fleeting.  For  what  we  have  just  said 
shows  us  clearly  the  poison  and  the  evil  which  lurk  con 
cealed  in  the  love  of  these  things.  But  we  see  this  yet 
incomparably  clearer  when  we  observe  from  what  glorious 
and  excellent  a  good  we  are  kept  away  through  the  enjoy 
ment  of  this. 

We  said  before  that  the  things  which  are  transient  are 
beyond  our  power.     *  But  *  let  us  be  well  understood  ;  we 

10  do  not  mean  to  say  that  we  are  a  free  cause  depending  upon 
nothing  else  ;  only  when  we  say  that  some  things  are  in, 
others  beyond  our  power,  we  mean  by  those  that  are  in 
our  power  such  as  we  can  produce  through  the  order  of 
or  together  with  Nature,  of  which  we  are  a  part ;  by  those 
which  are  not  in  our  power,  such  as,  being  outside  us,  are 
not  liable  to  suffer  any  change  through  us,  because  they  are 
very  far  removed  from  our  real  essence  as  thus  fashioned  by 

To  proceed,  we  come  now  to  the  second  kind  of  objects, 

20  which  though  eternal  and  imperishable,  are  not  such  through 
their  own  power,  t  However,  if  we  institute  a  brief  inquiry 
here,  we  become  immediately  aware  that  these  are  only 
mere  modes  which  depend  immediately  on  God.  And  since 
the  nature  of  these  is  such,  they  cannot  be  conceived  by  us 
unless  we,  at  the  same  time,  have  a  conception  of  God.  In 
this,  since  he  is  perfect,  our  Love  must  necessarily  rest. 
And,  to  express  it  in  a  word,  if  we  use  our  understanding 
aright  it  will  be  impossible  for  us  not  to  love  God. 

The  Reasons  why,  are  clear.    First  of  all,  because  we  find 

30  that  God  alone  has  essence  only,  and  all  other  things  are 
not  essences  but  modes.  And  since  the  modes  cannot  be 
rightly  understood  without  the  entity  on  which  they  im 
mediately  depend  ;  and  [as]  we  have  already  shown  before 

I  B  continues  :  "but  are  modes  which  depend  immediately  on 
God  " — and  omits  the  next  sentence. 

ON  LOVE  81 

that  if,  when  loving  something,   we  get  to  know  a  better  i 
thing  than   that  which  we  then  love,  we  always  prefer  it 
immediately,  and  forsake  the   first ;    it  follows,  therefore, 
incontrovertibly  that  when  we  get  to  know  God,  who  has  all 
perfection  in  himself,  we  must  necessarily  love  him. 

Secondly  ,  if  we  use  our  understanding  well  in  acquiring 
a  knowledge  of  things,  then  we  must  know  them  in  [relation 
to]  their  causes.  Now  then,  since  God  is  a  first  cause  of 
all  other  things,  therefore,  from  the  nature  of  the  case 
(ex  rerum  natura),  the  knowledge  of  God  is,  and  remains,  I0 
before  the  knowledge  of  all  other  things :  because  the 
knowledge  of  all  other  things  must  follow  from  the  know 
ledge  of  the  first  cause.  And  true  love  results  always  from 
the  knowledge  that  the  thing  is  glorious  and  good.  What 
else,  then,  can  follow  but  that  it  can  be  lavished  upon  no 
one  more  ardently  than  upon  the  Lord  our  God  ?  For  he 
alone  is  glorious,  and  a  perfect  good. 

So  we  see  now,  how  we  can  make  love  strong,  and  also 
how  it  must  rest  only  in  God. 

What  more  we  had  still  to  say  about  love,  we  shall  bear  2o 
in  mind   to  say  t  it   when   we  consider   the   last   kind  of 
knowledge.     In  what  follows  here  we  shall  inquire,  as  we 
promised  before,  as  to  which  of  the  passions  we  are  to 
entertain,  which  we  are  to  reject. 

A:  do. 



HATRED  is  an  inclination  to  ward  off  from  us  that  which  has 
caused  us  some  harm.!  Now  it  is  to  be  remarked  that 
we  perform  our  actions  in  two  ways,  namely,  either  with  or 
without  passion.  With  passion,  as  is  commonly  seen  in  the 
[conduct  of]  masters  towards  their  servants  who  have  done 
something  amiss.  Without  passion,  as  is  related  of  Socrates, 
who,  when  he  was  compelled  to  chastise  his  slave  for  [the 
10  latter's  own]  good,  never  did  so  when  he  felt  that  he  was 
enraged  against  his  slave. 

Now  that  we  see  that  our  actions  are  performed  by  us 
either  with,  or  without  passion,  we  think  that  it  is  clear 
that  those  things  which  hinder  or  have  hindered  us 
can  be  removed,  when  necessary,  without  any  perturba 
tion  on  our  part.  And  so,  which  is  better  :  that  we  should 
flee  from  the  things  with  aversion  and  hatred,  or  that,  with 
the  strength  of  reason,  we  should  (for  we  think  it  possible) 
endure  them  without  loss  of  temper  ?  First  of  all,  it  is 
20  certain  that  when  we  do  what  we  have  to  do  without 
passion,  then  no  evil  can  result  therefrom.  And,  since 
there  is  no  mean  between  good  and  evil,  we  see  that,  as 
it  is  bad  to  do  anything  in  a  passion,  so  it  must  be  good  to 
act  without  it. 

But  let  us  examine  whether  there  is  any  harm  in  fleeing 
from  things  with  hatred  and  aversion. 

As  regards  the  hatred  which  comes  from  opinion,  it  is 
certain  that  it  should  have  no  place  in  us,  because  we  know 
that  one  and  the  same  thing  is  good  for  us  at  one  time,  bad 

30  IB:  let  or  hindrance. 


ON   HATRED  83 

for  us  at  another  time,  as  is  always  the  case  with  medicinal  i 

It  therefore  depends,  in  the  end;  on  whether  the  hatred 
arises  in  us  only  through  opinion,  and  not  also  through 
true  reasoning.  But  to  ascertain  this  properly  we  deem  it 
right  to  explain  distinctly  what  hatred  is,  and  to  distinguish 
it  from  aversion. 

Now  I  say  that  Hatred  is  a  perturbation  of  the  soul 
against  some  one  who  has  done  some  ill  to  us  willingly  and 
knowingly.  But  aversion  is  the  perturbation  which  arises  I0 
in  us  against  a  thing  on  account  of  some  infirmity  or  injury 
which  we  either  know  or  think  is  in  it  by  nature.  I  say,  by 
nature  ;  for  when  we  do  not  suppose  *  or  think*  that  it  is  so, 
then,  even  if  we  have  suffered  some  hindrance  or  injury  from 
it,  we  have  no  aversion  for  it,  because  we  may,  on  the  con 
trary,  expect  something  useful  from  it.  Thus,  when  some  one 
is  hurt  by  a  stone  or  a  knife,  he  does  not  on  that  account  feel 
any  aversion  for  the  same. 

After  these  observations  let  us  now  briefly  consider  the 
consequences  of  both  of  them.  From  hatred  there  ensues  20 
sorrow ;  and  when  the  hatred  is  great,  it  produces  anger, 
which  not  only,  like  hatred,  seeks  to  flee  from  what  is  hated, 
but  also  to  annihilate  it,  when  that  is  practicable  :  from  this 
great  hatred  comes  also  envy.  But  from  aversion  there 
comes  a  certain  sorrow,  because  we  consider  ourselves  to 
be  deprived  of  something  which,  since  it  is  real,  must  always 
have  its  essence  and  perfection. 

From  what  has  just  been  said  it  may  be  easily  understood 
that,  if  we  use  our  Reason  aright,  we  can  feel  no  hatred  or 
aversion  for  anything,  because,  if  we  do,  we  deprive  our-  30 
selves  of  that  perfection  which  is  to  be  found  in  everything.! 

t  B  continues :  "  while,  on  the  contrary,  if  we  want  anything  we 
must  contrive  to  improve  whatever  we  want  from  nature,  whether 
for  our  own  sake,  or  for  the  sake  of  the  thing  itself  " — and  omits 
the  next  sentence. 


i  We  see  likewise  with  our  Reason  that  we  can  never  [reason- 
ably]  feel  any  hatred  whatever  against  anybody,  because 
whatsoever  exists  in  Nature,  if  we  entertain  any  wish  about 
it,  then  we  must  always  improve  it,  whether  for  our  sake  or 
for  the  sake  of  the  thing  itself.  And  since  a  perfect  man  is 
the  best  thing  *for  us*  that  we  know  of  all  that  we  have 
around  us  or  before  our  eyes,  it  is  by  far  the  best  both  for  us 
and  for  all  people  individually  that  we  should  at  all  times  seek 
to  educate  them  to  this  perfect  state.  For  only  then  can  we 

10  reap  the  greatest  benefit  from  them,  and  they  from  us. 
The  means  thereto  is,  to  give  regard  to  them  always  in  the 
manner  in  which  we  are  constantly  taught  and  exhorted  to 
do  by  our  good  Conscience  ;  for  this  never  prompts  us 
to  our  undoing,  but  always  to  our  happiness  *and  well- 

In  conclusion,  we  say  that  Hatred  and  Aversion  have 
in  them  as  many  imperfections  as  Love,  on  the  con 
trary,  has  perfections.  For  this  always  produces  improve 
ment,  invigoration,  and  enlargement,  which  constitute 

20  perfection  ;  while  Hatred,  on  the  contrary,  always  makes 
for  desolation,  enervation,  and  annihilation,  which  con 
stitute  imperfection  itself. 



HAVING  seen  that  Hatred  and  Surprise  II  are  such  that 
we  may  freely  say,  that  they  can  have  no  place  in  those 
who  use  their  understanding  as  they  should,  we  shall 
now  proceed  in  the  same  manner  to  speak  of  the  other 
passions.  To  begin  with,  Desire  and  Joy  shall  come  first. 
Since  these  arise  from  the  same  causes  from  which  love 
ensues,  we  shall  only  say  concerning  them  that  we  must 
remember  and  call  to  mind  what  we  then  said ;  and  with  10 
this  we  leave  the  subject. 

We  turn  next  to  Sorrow,  of  which  we  may  say  that  it 
arises  only  from  opinion  and  imagination  *which  follows* 
therefrom :  for  it  comes  from  the  loss  of  some  good. 

Now  we  have  already  remarked  above,  that  whatso 
ever  we  do  should  tend  towards  progress  and  amelioration. 
But  it  is  certain  that  so  long  as  we  are  sorrowing  we  render 
ourselves  unfit  to  act  thus  ;  on  this  account  it  is  necessary 
that  we  should  free  ourselves  from  it.  This  we  can  do  by 
thinking  of  the  means  whereby  we  may  recover  what  we  20 
have  lost,  if  it  is  in  our  power  to  do  so.  If  not,  [we  must 
reflect]  that  it  is  just  as  necessary  to  make  an  end  of  it,ttt 
lest  we  fall  a  prey  to  all  the  miseries  *and  disasters*  which 
sorrow  necessarily  brings  in  its  train.  And  either  course 
*  must  be  adopted*  with  joy  ;  for  it  is  foolish  to  try  to  restore 
and  make  good  a  lost  good  by  means  of  a  self-sought  and 
provoked  evil. 

I  B  :  On  Desire  and  Joy.  JJ  B  :  Hatred  and  Aversion. 

ItJ   B  :   Sorrow. 



i  Lastly,  he  who  uses  his  understanding  aright  must  neces 
sarily  know  God  first.  Now  God,  as  we  have  shown,  is 
the  highest  good  and  all  that  is  good.  Hence  it  follows 
incontrovertibly,  that  one  who  uses  his  understanding  aright 
can  fall  a  prey  to  no  sorrow.  How  should  he  ?  since  he 
finds  repose  in  that  good  which  is  all  that  is  good,  and  in 
which  there  is  the  fulness  of  all  joy  and  contentment.! 

Sorrow,  then,  comes  from  opinion  or  want  of  understand 
ing,  as  explained.!! 

10  J  B  abridges  the  paragraph  as  follows  :  Lastly,  he  who  uses  his 
understanding  aright  must  necessarily  know  that  God  is  the  first 
and  the  highest ;  and  rest  in  him  as  this  supreme  good :  whence  it 
follows  that,  since  he  finds  therein  all  joy  and  full  contentment,  no 
sorrow  can  befall  him. 

It  B  omits  the  last  sentence. 



WE  shall  now  proceed  to  speak  of  Esteem  and  Contempt,  of 
Self-respect  and  Humility, of  Conceit  and  Culpable  Humility. 
We  shall  take  them  in  the  above  order,  and  try  to  distinguish 
accurately  what  is  good  and  what  is  bad  in  them. 

Esteem  and  Contempt  are  felt  in  so  far  as  we  know  a  thing 
to  be  something  great  or  small,  be  this  great  or  little  thing 
in  us  or  outside 

Self-respect  does  not  extend  [to  anything]   outside  us,   I0 
and  is  only  attributed  to  one  who  knows  the  real  worth  of 
his  perfection,  dispassionately  and  without  seeking  esteem 
for  himself. 

Humility  is  felt  when  any  one  knows  his  own  imperfec 
tion,  without  regard  to  the  contempt  [of  others]  for  him 
self  ;JJt  so  that  Humility  does  not  refer  to  anything  outside 
the  humble  man. 

Conceit  is  this,  when  some  one  attributes  to  himself  a 
perfection  which  is  not  to  be  found  in  him. 

Culpable  humility  is  this,  when  some  one  attributes  to  20 
himself  an   imperfection   which   he   has    not.      I   am   not 
speaking    of   those   hypocrites   who,  without   meaning   it, 

J  B  enumerates  all  the  topics  in  the  heading  of  this  and  the 
following  chapters. 

|J  B  begins  this  chapter  as  follows  :  In  order  to  distinguish 
thoroughly  the  good  and  evil  in  these  Passions  we  shall  take  them 
up  in  turn,  beginning  with  Esteem  and  Contempt,  which  refer  to 
something  known  that  is  in  or  outside  us,  the  first  relating  to  some 
thing  great,  the  last,  to  something  small. 

JtJ  B  :  without  any  self-contempt.  3o 


i  humble  themselves  in  order  to  deceive  others  ;  I  but  only 
of  those  who  really  think  they  have  the  imperfections  which 
they  attribute  to  themselves. 

From  these  observations  it  is  sufficiently  evident  what 
good  and  evil  there  is  in  each  of  these  passions.  For,  as 
regards  Self-respect  and  Humility,  these  showtheir  excellence 
through  themselves.  For  we  say  that  the  possessor  there 
of  knows  his  perfection  and  imperfection  for  what  it 
And  this,  according  to  what  Reason  teaches  us,  is  the 
10  most  important  thing  for  the  attainment  of  our  perfection. 
Because  if  we  know  exactly  our  powers  and  perfection,  we 
see  thereby  clearly  what  it  is  we  have  to  do  in  order  to  attain 
our  good  end.  And,  on  the  other  hand,  if  we  know  our 
fault  and  frailty,  then  we  know  what  we  have  to  avoid. 

As  regards  Conceit  and  Culpable  Humility,  the  definition 
of  them  already  shows  *  sufficiently*  that  they  arise  from  a 
certain  opinion  ;  for  we  said  that  it  [conceit]  is  attributed 
to  one  who  ascribes  to  himself  a  certain  perfection,  although 
he  does  not  possess  it,  and  culpable  humility  is  the  precise 
20  opposite. 

From  what  has  just  been  said  it  is  evident,  then,  that  just 
as  Self-respect  and  True  Humility  are  good  and  salutary, 
so,  on  the  contrary,  Conceit  and  Culpable  Humility  are  bad 
and  pernicious.  For  those  [Self-respect  and  True  Humility] 
not  only  put  their  possessor  into  a  very  good  attitude,  but 
are  also,  besides,  the  right  ladder  by  which  we  may  rise  to 
supreme  bliss.  But  these  [Conceit  and  Culpable  Humility] 
not  only  prevent  us  from  attaining  to  our  perfection,  but 
also  lead  us  to  utter  ruin.  Culpable  Humility  is  what  pre- 
30  vents  us  from  doing  that  which  we  should  otherwise  have 
to  do  in  order  to  become  perfect ;  we  see  this,  for  instance, 
in  the  case  of  the  Sceptics,  who,  just  because  they  deny  that 

t  B  :  who  without  really  meaning  it  make  a  show  of  humbling 
themselves  simply  in  order  to  deceive  others. 
B  :  for  their  true  worth. 


man  can  attain  to  any  truth,  deprive  themselves  thereof  i 
through  this  very  denial.  Conceit  *on  the  other  hand*  is 
what  makes  us  undertake  things  which  tend  straight  to  our 
ruin  ;  as  is  seen  in  the  case  of  all  those  who  had  the  conceit, 
and  have  the  conceit,  that  they  stood,  and  stand,  wondrously 
well  in  the  opinion  of  God,  and  consequently  brave  fire  and 
water,  and  thus,  avoiding  no  danger,  and  facing  every  risk, 
they  die  most  miserably. 

As  regards  Esteem  and  Contempt,  there  is  no  more  to 
be  said  about  them,  we  have  only  to  recall  to  memory  what  10 
we  said  before  about  Love. 


ON  HOPE  AND  FEAR,  &c. 

WE  shall  now  begin  to  speak  of  Hope  and  Fear,  of  Confi 
dence,  Despair,  and  Vacillation,  of  Courage,  Boldness  and 
Emulation,  of  Pusillanimity  and  Timidity,  *and  lastly  of 
Jealousy,*  and,  as  is  our  wont,  we  shall  take  them  one  by 
one,  and  then  indicate  which  of  these  can  hinder  us,  and 
which  can  profit  us.  We  shall  be  able  to  do  all  this  very 
easily,  if  only  we  attend  closely  to  the  thoughts  that  we  can 
10  have  about  a  thing  that  is  yet  to  come,  be  it  good,  be  it 

*The  ideas  which  we  have  about  things  have  reference 

1.  To  the  things  themselves  ;  or, 

2.  To  the  person  who  has  the  ideas.* 

The  ideas  that  we  have  as  regards  the  thing  itself  are 
these,  either  the  thing  is  regarded  by  us  as  accidental,  that 
is  as  something  which  may  come  or  may  not  come,  or  [we 
think]  that  it  necessarily  must  come.  So  much  as  regards 

20  the  thing  itself. 

Next,  as  regards  him  who  thinks  about  the  thing,  the 
case  is  this :  he  must  do  something  either  in  order  to 
advance  the  thing,  or  in  order  to  prevent  it.  Now  from 
these  thoughts  all  these  passions  result  as  follows  :  when 
we  think  that  a  certain  thing  which  is  yet  to  come  is  good 
and  that  it  can  happen,  the  soul  assumes,  in  consequence  of 
this,  that  form  which  we  call  hope,  which  is  nothing  else 
than  a  certain  kind  of  joy,  though  mingled  with  some 

30      And,  on  the  other  hand,  if  we  judge  that  that  which  may 


ON  HOPE  AND  FEAR,  &c.  91 

be  coming  is  bad,  then  that  form  enters  into  our  soul  which  i 
we  call  fear. 

If,  however,  the  thing  is  regarded  by  us  as  good,  and,  at 
the  same  time,  as  something  that  necessarily  must  come, 
then  there  comes  into  the  soul  that  repose  which  we  call 
confidence  ;  which  is  a  certain  joy  not  mingled  with  sorrow, 
as  hope  is. 

But  when  we  think  that  the  thing  is  bad,  and  that  it 
necessarily  must  come,  then  despair  enters  into  the  soul ; 
which  is  nothing  else  than  a  certain  kind  of  sorrow.  10 

So  far  we  have  spoken  of  the  passions  considered  in  this 
chapter,  and  given  positive  definitions  of  the  same,  and  have 
thus  stated  what  each  of  them  is  ;  we  may  now  proceed  in 
a  converse  manner,  and  define  them  negatively.  We  hope 
that  the  evil  may  not  come,  we  fear  lest  the  good  should  not 
come,  we  are  confident  that  the  evil  will  not  come,  we  despair 
because  the  good  will  not  come. 

Having  said  this  much  about  the  passions  in  so  far  as 
they  arise  from  our  thoughts  concerning  the  thing  itself, 
we   have   now  to   speak  of   those    which   arise   from   the  20 
thoughts   relating   to   him   who  thinks   about   the    thing ; 
namely : 

If  something  must  be  done  in  order  to  bring  the  thing 
about,  and  we  come  to  no  decision  concerning  it,  then  the 
soul  receives  that  form  which  we  call  vacillation.  But  when 
it  makes  a  manly  resolve  to  produce  the  thing,  and  this  can 
be  brought  about,  then  that  is  called  courage  ;  and  if  the 
thing  is  difficult  to  effect,  then  that  is  called  intrepidity  or 

When,  however,  some  one  decides  to  do  a  thing  because  30 
another  (who  had  done  it  first)  has  met  with  success,  then 
we  call  it  emulation.     *  Lastly,* 

If  any  one  knows  what  he  must  decide  to  do  in  order  to 
advance  a  good  thing,  and  to  hinder  a  bad  one,  and  yet 
does  not  do  so,  then  we  call  it  pusillanimity ;  and  when  the 


i  same  is  very  great,  we  call  it  timidity.  Lastly,  jealousness  or 
jalousie  is  the  anxiety  which  we  feel  that  we  may  have 
the  sole  enjoyment  and  possession  of  something  already 

Since  we  know  now  whence  these  passions  originate,  it 
will  be  very  easy  for  us  to  show  which  of  them  are  good, 
and  which  are  bad. 

As  regards  Hope,  Fear,  Confidence,  Despair,  and  Jealousy, 
it  is  certain  that  they  arise  from  a  wrong  opinion.  For,  as 

10  we  have  already  shown  above,  all  things  have  their  neces 
sary  causes,  and  must  necessarily  happen  just  as  they  do 
happen.  And  although  Confidence  and  Despair  seem  to  have 
a  place  in  the  inviolable  order  and  sequence  of  causes  t  *or 
to  confirm  the  same,*  yet  (when  the  truth  of  the  matter  is 
rightly  looked  into)  that  is  far  from  being  the  case.  For 
Confidence  and  Despair  never  arise,  unless  Hope  and  Fear 
(from  which  they  derive  their  being)  have  preceded  them. 
For  example,  if  any  one  thinks  that  something,  for  which 
he  still  has  to  wait,  is  good,  then  he  receives  that  form  in 

20  his  soul  which  we  call  Hope ;  and  when  he  is  confident 
about  *the  aquisition  of*  the  supposed  good,  his  soul  gains 
that  repose  which  we  call  Confidence.  What  we  are  now 
saying  about  confidence,  the  same  must  also  be  said  about 
Despair.  But,  according  to  that  which  we  have  said  about 
Love,  this  also  can  have  no  place  in  a  perfect  man  :  be 
cause  they  presuppose  things  which,  owing  to  the  mutability 
to  which  they  are  subject  (as  remarked  in  our  account  of 
Love),  we  must  not  become  attached  to  ;  nor  (as  shown  in 
our  account  of  Hatred)  may  we  even  have  an  aversion  to 

30  them.  The  man,  however,  who  persists  in  these  passions 
is  at  all  times  subject  to  such  attachment  and  aversion. 

As  regards  Vacillation,  Pusillanimity,  and  Timidity,  these 
betray  their  imperfection  through  their  very  character  and 
nature  :  for  whatsoever  they  do  to  our  advantage  comes 
I  A  adds  here :  (because  there  all  is  inviolable  and  unalterable.) 

ON  HOPE  AND  FEAR,  &c.  93 

only  negatively  from  the  effects  of  their  nature.  For  i 
example,  some  one  hopes  for  something  which  he  thinks 
is  good,  although  it  is  not  good,  yet,  owing  to  his  vacilla 
tion  or  pusillanimity,  he  happens  to  lack  the  courage  neces 
sary  for  its  realisation,  and  so  it  comes  about  that  he  is 
negatively  or  by  accident  saved  from  the  evil  which  he 
thought  was  good.  These  *Passions,*  therefore,  can  also 
have  no  place  whatever  in  the  man  who  is  guided  by  true 

Lastly,   as  regards  Courage,   Boldness,  and   Emulation,   10 
about  these  there  is  nothing  else  to  be  said  than  that  which 
we  have  already  said  about  Love  and  Hatred. 



ON  the  present  occasion  we  shall  speak,  though  briefly, 
about  remorse  and  repentance.  These  never  arise  except  as 
the  result  of  rashness  ;  because  remorse  comes  only  from 
this,  that  we  do  something  about  which  we  are  then  in 
doubt  whether  it  is  good,  or  whether  it  is  bad  ;  and  repent 
ance,  from  this,  that  we  have  done  something  which  is 

10  And  since  many  people  (who  use  their  understanding 
aright)  sometimes  (because  they  lack  that  habitual  readiness 
which  is  required  in  order  that  the  understanding  may  at 
all  times  be  used  aright)  go  astray,  it  might  perchance  be 
thought  that  such  Remorse  and  Repentance  might  soon  set 
them  right  again,  and  thence  it  might  be  inferred,  as  the 
whole  world  does  infer,  that  they  are  good.!  If,  however, 
we  will  get  a  proper  insight  into  them,  we  shall  find  that 
they  are  not  only  not  good,  but  that  they  are,  on  the  con 
trary,  pernicious,  and  that  they  are  consequently  bad.  For 

20  it  is  obvious  that  we  always  succeed  better  through  Reason 
and  the  love  of  truth  than  through  remorse  and  sorrow. 
They  are,  therefore,  pernicious  and  bad,  because  they  are 
a  certain  kind  of  sorrow,  which  [sorrow]  we  have  already 
shown  above  to  be  injurious,  and  which,  for  that  reason, 
we  must  try  to  avert  as  an  evil,  and  consequently  we 
must  likewise  shun  and  flee  from  these  also,  which  are 
like  it. 

J  B  continues :  but,  on  the  other  hand,  when  we  look  into  the 
matter  thoroughly  the  case  is  quite  otherwise,  for  we  shall  find  that 
30  they  are  not  only  not  good  .  .  . 




DERISION  and  jesting  rest  on  a  false  opinion,  and  betray  an 
imperfection  in  him  who  derides  and  jests. 

The  opinion  on  which  they  rest  is  false,  because  it  is 
supposed  that  he  who  is  derided  is  the  first  cause  of  the 
effects  which  he  produces,  and  that  they  do  not  necessarily 
(like  the  other  things  in  Nature)  depend  on  God.  They 
betray  an  imperfection  in  the  Derider  ;  because  either  that 
which  is  derided  is  such  that  it  is  derisible,  or  it  is  not  10 
such.  If  it  is  not  such,  then  it  shows  bad  manners,  to 
deride  that  which  is  not  to  be  derided  ;  if  it  is  such,  then 
they  [who  deride  it]  show  thereby  that  they  recognise  some 
imperfection  in  that  which  they  deride,  which  they  ought  to 
remedy,  not  by  derision,  but  much  rather  by  good  reasoning. 

Laughter  does  not  refer  to  another,  but  only  to  the  man 
who  observes  some  good  in  himself ;  and  since  it  is  a 
certain  kind  of  Joy,  there  is  nothing  else  to  be  said  about 
it  than  what  has  already  been  said  about  Joy.  1  speak  of 
such  laughter  as  is  caused  by  a  certain  Idea  which  provokes  t  20 
one  to  it,  and  not  at  all  of  such  laughter  as  is  caused  by 
the  movement  of  the  [vital]  spirits  ;  as  to  this  (since  it  has 
no  reference  to  good  or  to  evil)  we  had  no  intention  to 
speak  of  it  here. 

As  to  Envy,  Anger,  Indignation,  we  shall  say  nothing 
about  them  here,  but  only  just  refer  back  to  what  we  have 
already  said  above  concerning  hatred. 

t  B  continues  thus  :  the  laugher  thereto  without  any  reference  to 
good  or  evil,  and  not  at  all  of  such  laughter  as  is  caused  in  him 
by  the  movement  of  the  [vital]  spirits ;  it  was  not  our  intention  to   30 
speak  of  this.     Again,  .  .  . 




WE  shall  now  also  briefly  consider  glory,  shame,  and  shame- 
lessness.l  The  first  tt  is  a  certain  kind  of  Joy  which  every 
one  feels  in  himself  whenever  he  becomes  aware  that  his 
conduct  is  esteemed  and  praised  by  others,  without  regard 
to  any  other  advantage  or  profit  which  they  may  have  in 

Shame  is  a  certain  *  kind  of  *  sorrow  which  arises  in  one 
10  when  he  happens  to  see  that  his  conduct  is  despised  by 
others,  without  regard  to  any  other  disadvantage  or  injury 
that  they  may  have  in  view. 

Shamelessness  is  nothing  else  than  a  want,  or  shaking  off, 
of  shame,  not  through  Reason,  but  either  from  innocence 
of  shame,  as  is  the  case  with  children,  savage  people,  &c., 
or  because,  having  been  held  in  great  contempt,  one  goes 
now  to  any  length  without  regard  for  anything. 

Now  that  we  know  these  passions,  we  also  know,  at  the 
same  time,  the  vanity  and  imperfection  which  they  have  in 
20  them.  For  Glory  and  Shame  are  not  only  of  no  advantage, 
because  of  what  we  have  observed  in  their  definitions,  but 
also  (inasmuch  as  they  are  based  on  self-love,  and  on  the 
opinion  that  man  is  the  first  cause  of  his  action,  and  there 
fore  deserving  of  praise  and  blame)  they  are  pernicious  and 
must  be  rejected. 

I  will  not,  however,  say  that  one  ought  to  live  among 
men  in  the  same  way  that  one  would  live  away  from  them, 
where  Glory  and  Shame  have  no  place ;  quite  the  contrary, 

t  B  omits  this  sentence. 

So  tt  A  :  De  eerste  [The  first] ;  B  :  De  eere  [Glory]. 



I  admit  that  we  are  not  only  free  to  utilise  them,  when  we  i 
apply  them  in  the  service  of  mankind  and  for  their 
amelioration,  but  that  we  may  even  do  so  at  the  price  of 
curtailing  our  o\vn  (otherwise  perfect  and  legitimate) 
freedom.  For  example  :  if  any  one  wears  costly  clothes  in 
order  to  be  respected,  he  seeks  a  Glory  which  results  from 
his  self-love  without  any  consideration  for  his  fellow-men  ; 
but  when  some  one  observes  that  his  wisdom  (wherewith 
he  can  be  of  service  to  his  neighbours)  is  despised  and 
trampled  under  foot  *  simply  *  because  he  is  dressed  in  I( 
shabby  clothes,  then  he  will  do  well  if  (from  the  motive  to 
help  them)  he  provides  himself  with  clothes  to  which  they 
cannot  take  exception,  thereby  becoming  like  his  fellow- 
man  in  order  that  he  may  win  over  his  fellow-man. 

Further,  as  regards  Shamelessness,  this  shows  itself  to 
be  such  that  in  order  to  see  its  deformity  all  that  we  need 
is  merely  its  definition,  and  that  will  be  enough  for  us. 



Now  follows  [the  consideration]  of  favour,  gratitude,  and 
ingratitude.  As  regards  the  first  two,  they  are  the  inclina 
tions  which  the  soul  has  to  wish  and  to  do  some  good  to 
one's  neighbour.  I  say,  to  wish,  [this  happens]  when  good 
is  returned  to  one  who  has  done  some  good  ;  I  say,  to  do, 
[this  is  the  case]  when  we  ourselves  have  obtained  or  received 
some  good. 

I0  I  am  well  aware  that  almost  all  people  consider  these 
affects  to  be  good ;  but,  notwithstanding  this,  I  venture  to  say 
that  they  can  have  no  place  in  a  perfect  man.  For  a  perfect 
man  is  moved  to  help  his  fellow-man  by  sheer  necessity 
only,  and  by  no  other  cause,  and  therefore  he  feels  it  all 
the  more  to  be  his  duty  to  help  the  most  godless,  seeing 
that  his  misery  and  need  are  so  much  greater. 

Ingratitude  is  a  disregard  *  or  shaking  off  *  of  Gratitude, 
as  Shamelessness  is  of  Shame,  and  that  without  any  rational 
ground,  but  solely  as  the  result  either  of  greed  or  of 

20  immoderate  self-love  ;  and  that  is  why  it  can  have  no  place 
in  a  perfect  man. 




GRIEF  shall  be  the  last  of  which  we  shall  speak  in  our  treat 
ment  of  the  passions,  and  with  it  we  will  conclude.  Now 
grief  is  a  certain  kind  of  sorrow  arising  from  the  contem 
plation  of  some  good  which  we  have  lost,  and  [lost]  in  such 
a  way  that  there  is  no  hope  of  recovering  the  same.  It  makes 
its  imperfection  so  manifest  that  as  soon  as  we  only  examine 
it  we  think  it  bad.  For  we  have  already  shown  above 
that  it  is  bad  to  bind  and  link  ourselves  to  things  which  10 
may  easily,  or  at  some  time,  fail  us,  and  which  we  cannot 
have  when  we  want  them.  And  since  it  is  a  certain  kind 
of  sorrow,  we  have  to  shun  it,  as  we  have  already  remarked 
above,  when  we  were  treating  of  sorrow. 

I  think,  now,  that  I  have  already  shown  and  proved 
sufficiently  that  it  is  only  True  Belief  or  Reason  that  leads 
us  to  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil.  And  so  when  we 
come  to  prove  that  Knowledge  is  the  first  and  principal 
cause  t  of  all  these  passions,  it  will  be  clearly  manifest  that 
if  we  use  our  understanding  and  Reason  aright,  it  should  20 
be  impossible  for  us  ever  to  fall  a  prey  to  one  of  these 
*  passions*  which  we  ought  to  reject.  I  say  our  Under 
standing,  because  I  do  not  think  that  Reason  alone  is  com 
petent  to  free  us  from  all  these  :  as  we  shall  afterwards  show 
in  its  proper  place. 

We  must,  however,  note  here  as  an  excellent  thing  about 
the  passions,  that  we  see  and  find  that  all  the  passions  which 

I  B  omitted  "  cause,"  but  the  word  seems  to  have  been  inserted 
recently — perhaps  by  Van  Vloten,  as  a  marginal  pencil  note 
suggests.  30 



i  are  good  are  of  such  kind  and  nature  that  we  cannot  be  or 
exist  without  them,  and  that  they  belong,  as  it  were,  to  our 
essence ;  such  is  the  case  with  Love,  Desire,  and  all  that 
pertains  to  love. 

But  the  case  is  altogether  different  with  those  which  are 
bad  and  must  be  rejected  by  us  ;  seeing  that  we  cannot 
only  exist  very  well  without  these,  but  even  that  only  then, 
when  we  have  freed  ourselves  from  them,  are  we  really  what 
we  ought  to  be. 

10  To  give  still  greater  clearness  to  all  this,  it  is  useful  to 
note  that  the  foundation  of  all  good  and  evil  is  Love 
bestowed  on  a  certain  object :  for  if  we  do  not  love  that  object 
which  (nota  bene)  alone  is  worthy  of  being  loved,  namely, 
God,  as  we  have  said  before,  but  things  which  through 
their  very  character  and  nature  are  transient,  then  (since 
the  object  is  liable  to  so  many  accidents,  ay,  even  to 
annihilation)  there  necessarily  results  hatred,  sorrow,  &c., 
according  to  the  changes  in  the  object  loved.  Hatred, 
when  any  one  deprives  him  of  what  he  loves.  Sorrow, 

20  when  he  happens  to  lose  it.  Glory,  when  he  leans  on  self- 
love.  Favour  and  Gratitude,  when  he  does  not  love  his 
fellow-man  for  the  sake  of  God. 

But,  in  contrast  with  all  these,  when  man  comes  to  love 
God  who  always  is  and  remains  immutable,  then  it  is 
impossible  for  him  to  fall  into  this  welter  of  passions. 
And  for  this  reason  we  state  it  as  a  fixed  and  immovable 
principle  that  God  is  the  first  and  only  cause  of  all  our 
good  and  delivers  us  from  all  our  evil. 

Hence  it  is  also  to  be  noted  *  lastly,*  that  only  Love,  &c., 

30  are  limitless  :  namely,  that  as  it  increases  more  and  more, 
so  also  it  grows  more  excellent,  because  it  is  bestowed  on 
an  object  which  is  infinite,  and  can  therefore  always  go 
on  increasing,  which  can  happen  in  the  case  of  no  other 
thing  except  this  alone.  And,  maybe,  this  will  after- 

ON  GRIEF  101 

wards   give  us  the   material   from  which  we  shall   prove  i 
the  immortality  of  the  soul,  and  how  or  in  what  way  this 
is  possible.! 

Having  so  far  considered  all  that  the  third  kind  of  It 
effect  of  true  belief  makes  known  we  shall  now  proceed  to 
speak,  *  in  what  follows,*  of  the  fourth,  and  last,  effect 
which  was  not  stated  by  us  on  page  75-111 

£  B  :  And  this  will  give  us  the  material  from  which  we  shall,  in 
the  23rd  chapter,  make  out  a  case  for,  and  prove,  the  immortality 
of  the  Soul.  [A  marginal  note  in  A  also  refers  to  chapter  xxiii.]  10 

It  A  and  B  :  or. 

~t~tt  A  gives  this  sentence  in  a  foot-note  •  B  in  the  body  of  the 
text,  as  above. 

i          ON  THE  TRUE  AND  THE  FALSE 

LET  us  now  examine  the  true  and  the  false,  which  indicate 
to  us  the  fourth,  and  last,  consequence  of  true  belief.  Now, 
in  order  to  do  this,  we  shall  first  state  the  definitions  of 
Truth  and  Falsity.  Truth  is  an  affirmation  (or  a  denial) 
made  about  a  certain  thing,  which  agrees  with  that  same 
thing  ;  and  Falsity  is  an  affirmation  (or  a  denial)  about  a 
thing,  which  does  not  agree  with  the  thing  itself.  But  this 

10  being  so,  it  may  appear  that  there  is  no  difference  between 
the  false  and  the  true  Idea,  or,  since  the  [affirmation  or] 
denial  of  this  or  that  are  mere  J  modes  of  thought,  and 
[the  true  and  the  false  Idea]  differ  in  no  other  way  II 
except  that  the  one  agrees  with  the  thing,  and  the  other 
does  not,  that  they  are  therefore,  not  really,  but  only 
logically  Jtt  different  ;  and  if  this  should  be  so,  one  may 
justly  ask,  what  advantage  has  the  one  from  his  Truth,  and 
what  harm  does  the  other  incur  through  his  falsity  ?  and 
how  shall  the  one  know  that  his  conception  or  Idea  agrees 

20  with  the  thing  more  than  the  other  does  ?  lastly,  whence 
does  it  come  that  the  one  errs,  and  the  other  does  not  ? 

To  this  it  may,  in  the  first  place,  serve  as  an  answer  that 
the  clearest  things  of  all  make  known  both  themselves  and 

|  Literally  "  true,"  but  the  translator  probably  mistook  merus 
for  verus. 

It  In  B  this  sentence  begins  as  follows  :  "  But  since  the  affirma 
tion  or  denial  of  this  or  that  are  mere  J  modes  of  thought,  there 
seems  to  be  no  difference  between  the  true  and  the  false  idea 
except  that,"  &c. 

30       Itt  door  reeden  [through  reason.] 



also  what  is  false,  in  such  a  manner  that  it  would  be  a  great  i 
folly  to  ask  how  we  are  to  become  aware  of  them  :  for, 
since  they  are  said  to  be  the  clearest  of  all,  there  can  never 
be  any  other  clearness  through  which  they  might  be  made 
clear ;  it  follows,  therefore,  that  truth  at  once  reveals  itself 
and  also  what  is  false,  because  truth  is  made  clear  through 
truth,  that  is  through  itself,  and  through  it  also  is  falsity 
made  clear ;  but  falsity  is  never  revealed  and  made  mani 
fest  through  itself.  So  that  any  one  who  is  in  possession 
of  the  truth  cannot  doubt  that  he  possesses  it,  while  one  »o 
who  is  sunk  in  falsity  or  in  error  can  well  suppose 
that  he  has  got  at  the  truth  ;  just  as  some  one  who  is 
dreaming  can  well  think  that  he  is  awake,  but  one  who 
is  actually  awake  can  never  think  that  he  is  dreaming. 

These  remarks  also  explain  to  some  extent  what  we 
said  about  God  being  the  Truth,  or  that  the  Truth  is  God 

Now  the  reason  why  the  one  is  more  conscious  of  his 
truth  than  the  other  is,  is  because  the  Idea  of  [his]  affirma 
tion  (or  denial)  entirely  agrees  with  the  nature  of  the  thing,  20 
and  consequently  has  more  essence.!  It  may  help  some  to 
grasp  this  better  if  it  be  observed  that  Understanding 
(although  the  word  does  not  sound  like  it)  is  a  mere  or 
pure  passivity  ;  that  is,  that  our  soul  is  changed  in  such  a 
way  that  it  receives  other  modes  of  thought,  which  it  did 
not  have  before.  Now  when  some  one,  in  consequence  of 
the  whole  object  having  acted  upon  him,  receives  corre 
sponding  forms  or  modes  of  thought,  then  it  is  clear  that 
he  receives  a  totally  different  feeling  of  the  form  or 
character  of  the  object  than  does  another  who  has  not  3° 
had  so  many  causes  [acting  upon  him],  and  is  therefore 
moved  to  make  an  affirmation  or  denial  about  that  thing  by 

J  B  :  .  .  .  because  in  the  former  case  the  Idea  of  the  affirmation 
(or  denial)  which  entirely  agrees  with  the  nature  of  the  thing  has  so 
much  more  essence. 

io4          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

1  a  different  and  slighter  action  (because  he  becomes  aware 
of  it  only  through  a  few,  or  the  less  important,  of  its  attri 
butes). t  From  this,  then,  we  see  the  perfection  of  one  who 
takes  his  stand  upon  Truth,  as  contrasted  with  one  who 
does  not  take  his  stand  upon  it.  Since  the  one  changes 
easily,  while  the  other  does  not  change  easily,  it  follows 
therefrom  that  the  one  has  more  stability  and  essence  than 
the  other  has  :  likewise,  since  the  modes  of  thought  which 
agree  with  the  thing  have  had  more  causes  [to  produce 

.o  them]  they  have  also  more  stability  and  essence  in  them : 
and,  since  they  entirely  agree  with  the  thing,  it  is  impos 
sible  that  they  should  after  a  time  be  made  different  or 
undergo  some  change,  *  all  the  less  so  *  because  we  have 
already  seen  before  that  the  essence  of  a  thing  is  unchange 
able.  Such  is  not  the  case  with  falsity.  And  with  these 
remarks  all  the  above  questions  will  be  sufficiently  answered. 

I  Text  imperfect.     See  Commentary. 



Now  that  we  know  the  nature  of  Good  and  Evil,  Truth 
and  Falsity,  and  also  wherein  the  well-being  of  a  perfect 
man  consists,  it  is  time  to  begin  to  examine  ourselves,  and 
to  see  whether  we  attain  to  such  well-being  voluntarily  or  of 

To  this  end  it  is  necessary  to  inquire  what  the  Will  is, 
according  to  those  who  posit  a  Will,t  and  wherein  it  is 
different  from  Desire.  Desire,  we  have  said,  is  the  inclina-  I0 
tion  which  the  soul  has  towards  something  which  it  chooses 
as  a  good  ;  whence  it  follows  that  before  our  desire  inclines 
towards  something  outside,  we  have  already  inwardly  decided 
that  such  a  thing  is  good,  and  this  affirmation,  or,  stated 
more  generally,  the  power  to  affirm  and  to  deny,  is  called 
the  Will.t 

It  thus  turns  on  the  question  whether  our  Affirmations 
are  made  voluntarily  or  necessarily,  that  is,  whether  we  can 

t  B  omits  the  words  "  according  .  .  .  Will." 

t  Now  the  Will,  regarded  as  Affirmation  or  Decision  *  is  different  20 
from  true  Belief  and  from  Opinion.  It  *  differs  from  True  Belief 
in  this,  that  it  extends  also  to  that  which  is  not  truly  good ;  and 
this  is  so  because  it  lacks  that  conviction  whereby  it  is  clearly  seen 
that  it  cannot  be  otherwise ;  in  the  case  of  true  belief  there  is,  and 
must  be,  this  conviction,  because  from  it  none  but  good  desires 

But  it  also  differs  from  Opinion  in  this,  that  it  can  sometimes  be 
quite  infallible  and  certain  ;  this  is  not  the  case  with  Opinion,  which 
consists  in  guessing  and  supposing. 

So  that  we  can  call  it  Belief  in  so  far  as  it  can  proceed  with  30 
certainty,  and  Opinion  in  so  far  as  it  is  subject  to  error. 


io6          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  make  any  affirmation  or  denial  about  a  thing  without  some 
external  cause  compelling  us  to  do  so.  Now  we  have 
already  shown  that  a  thing  which  is  not  explained  t 
through  itself,  or  whose  existence  does  not  pertain  to  its 
essence,  must  necessarily  have  an  external  cause ;  and  that 
a  cause  which  is  to  produce  something  must  produce  it 
necessarily  ;  it  must  therefore  also  follow  that  each  separate 
act  of  willing  t  this  or  that,  each  separate  act  of  affirming 
or  denying  this  or  that  of  a  thing,  these,  I  say,  must  also 

10  result  from  some  external  cause  :  so  also  the  definition 
which  we  have  given  of  a  cause  is,  that  it  cannot  be 

Possibly  this  will  not  satisfy  some  who  are  accustomed  to 
keep  their  understanding  busy  with  things  of  Reason  more 

t  B  :  which  does  not  exist. 

t  It  is  certain  that  each  separate  volition  must  have  an  external 
cause  through  which  it  comes  into  being ;  for,  seeing  that  existence 
does  not  pertain  to  its  essence,  its  existence  must  necessarily  be  due 
to  the  existence  of  something  else. 

20  As  to  the  view  that  the  efficient  cause  JJ  thereof  is  not  an  Idea 
but  the  human  Will  itself,  and  that  the  Understanding  is  a  cause 
without  which  the  will  can  do  nothing,  so  that  the  Will  in  its  un 
determined  form,  and  also  the  Understanding,  are  not  things  of 
Reason,  but  real  entities — so  far  as  I  am  concerned,  whenever  I 
consider  them  attentively  they  appear  to  be  universals,  and  I  can 
attribute  no  reality  to  them.  Even  if  it  be  so,  however,  still  it  must 
be  admitted  that  Willing  is  a  modification  of  the  Will,  and  that  the 
Ideas  are  a  mode  of  the  Understanding ;  the  Understanding  and 
the  Will  are  therefore  necessarily  distinct,  and  really  distinct  sub- 

30  stances,  because  [only]  substance  is  modified,  and  not  the  mode 
itself.  As  the  soul  is  said  to  direct  these  two  substances,  it  must 
be  a  third  substance.  All  these  things  are  so  confused  that  it  is 
impossible  to  have  a  clear  and  distinct  conception  about  them. 
For,  since  the  Idea  is  not  in  the  Will,  but  in  the  Understanding, 
and  in  consequence  of  the  rule  that  the  mode  of  one  substance 
cannot  pass  over  into  the  other  substance,  love  cannot  arise  in  the 

Jt  A:  the  idea  of  the  efficient  cause. 

ON  THE  WILL  107 

than  with  Particular  things  which  really  exist  in  Nature  ;  i 
and,  through  doing  so,  they  come  to  regard  a  thing  of 
Reason  not  t  as  such,  but  as  a  real  thing,  tt.  For,  because 
man  has  now  this,  now  that  volition,  he  forms  in  his  soul  a 
general  mode  which  he  calls  Will,  just  as  from  this  man 
and  that  man  he  also  forms  the  Idea  of  man  ;  ttt  and 
because  he  does  not  adequately  distinguish  the  real  things 
from  the  things  of  Reason,  he  comes  to  regard  the  things 
of  Reason  as  things  which  really  exist  in  Nature,  and  so  he 
regards  himself  as  a  cause  of  some  things.  This  happens  10 
not  infrequently  in  the  treatment  of  the  subject  about  which 
we  are  speaking.  For  if  any  one  is  asked  why  people 
want  this  or  that,  the  answer  usually  given  is,  because  they 
have  a  will.  But,  since  the  Will,  as  we  have  said,  is  only 

will  :  because  to  will  something  when  there  is  no  idea  of  that  thing 
in  the  willing  power  involves  self-contradiction.  If  you  say  that 
the  Will,  owing  to  its  union  with  the  Understanding,  also  becomes 
aware  of  that  which  the  Understanding  understands,  and  thus  also 
loves  it,  *  one  may  retort  to  this  :  *  but  since  awareness  is  also 
an  apprehension,  mi  it  is  therefore  also  a  mode  of  understand-  20 
ing  ;  following  the  above,  however,  this  cannot  be  in  the  Will,  even 
if  its  union  [with  the  Will]  were  like  that  of  the  soul  and  body. 
For  suppose  that  the  body  is  united  with  the  soul,  as  the 
philosophers  generally  maintain,  even  so  the  body  never  feels,  nor 
does  the  soul  become  extended.  IltiJ.  When  they  say  that  the  Soul 
directs  both  the  Understanding  and  the  Will,  this  is  *  not  only  * 
inconceivable,  *  but  even  self-contradictory,*  because  by  saying  so 
they  seem  to  deny  that  the  will  is  free,  which  is  opposed  to  their 

J  B  :  no  more. 

tt  :  B  continues  :  and  thus  regard  themselves  as  the  cause  of  30 
some  things;  as  happens  not  infrequently  in  the  matter  about  which 
we  are  at  present  speaking. 

Jit  B  continues  :  if  then  the  question  is  asked,  why  people  want 
this  or  that,  they  answer  .  .  . 

I  A:  an  apprehension  [or  "conception"]  and  a  confused  idea. 
HI  1  1  A  continues  :  For  then  a  Chimera,  in  which  we  conceive  two  sub 
stances,  might  become  one  ;  this  is  false. 

io8          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

*  an  Idea  of  our  willing  this  or  that,  and  therefore  only  a 
mode  of  thought,  a  thing  of  Reason,  and  not  a  real  thing, 
nothing  can  be  caused  by  it ;  for  out  of  nothing,  nothing 
comes.  And  so,  as  we  have  shown  that  the  will  is  not  a 
thing  in  Nature,  but  only  in  fancy,  I  also  think  it  unneces 
sary  to  ask  whether  the  will  is  free  or  not  free. 

I  say  this  not  [only]  of  will  in  general,  which  we  have 
shown  to  be  a  mode  of  thought,  but  also  of  the  particular 
act  of  willing  this  or  that,  which  act  of  willing  some  have 

10  identified  with  affirmation  and  denial.  Now  this  should 
be  clearly  evident  to  every  one  who  only  attends  to  what 
we  have  already  said.  For  we  have  said  £  that  the  under- 

view.  But,  to  conclude,  I  have  no  inclination  to  adduce  all  my 
objections  against  positing  a  created  finite  substance.  I  shall  only 
show  briefly  that  the  Freedom  of  the  Will  does  not  in  any  way 
accord  with  such  an  enduring  creation ;  namely,  that  the  same 
activity  J  J  is  required  of  God  in  order  to  maintain  *  a  thing  *  in 
existence  as  to  create  it,  and  that  otherwise  the  thing  could  not  last 
for  a  moment ;  as  this  is  so,  nothing  can  be  attributed  to  it.Jtt 

20  But  we  must  say  that  God  has  created  it  just  as  it  is  ;  for  as  it 
has  no  power  to  maintain  itself  in  existence  while  it  exists,  much 
less,  then,  can  it  produce  something  by  itself.  If,  therefore,  any 
one  should  say  that  the  soul  produces  the  volition  from  itself,  then 
I  ask,  by  what  power  ?  Not  by  that  which  has  been,  for  it  is  no 
more ;  also  not  by  that  which  it  has  now,  for  it  has  none  at  all 
whereby  it  might  exist  or  last  for  a  single  moment,  because  it  is 
continuously  created  anew.  Thus,  then,  as  there  is  no  thing  that 
has  any  power  to  maintain  itself,  or  to  produce  anything,  there 
remains  nothing  but  to  conclude  that  God  alone,  therefore,  is  and 

30  must  be  the  efficient  cause  of  all  things,  and  that  all  acts  of  Volition 
are  determined  by  him  *  alone.* 

£  In  B  this  paragraph  begins  thus  :  "  Now  in  order  to  understand 
whether  we  are  really  free,  or  not  free  in  any  particular  act  of 
willing,  that  is  of  affirming  or  denying  this  or  that,  we  must  recall 
to  our  memory  what  we  have  already  said,  namely,  ..." 

JJ  B:  .  .  .  such  an  enduring  creation  [as  they  admit;  for,  if  one  and  the 
same  activity  .  .  . 

HI  B:  .  .  .  as  this  is  so,  no  causality  can  be  attributed  to  the  thing. 

ON  THE  WILL  109 

standing   is   purely   passive ;   it    is    an    awareness,   in   the   i 
soul,  of   the   essence  and   existence  of  things  ;   so  that  it 
is  never  we  who  affirm  or  deny  something  of  a  thing,  but 
it  is  the  thing  itself  that  affirms  or  denies,  in  us,  something 
of  itself. 

Possibly  some  will  not  admit  this,  because  it  seems  to 
them  that  they  are  well  able  to  affirm  or  to  deny  of  the 
thing  something  different  from  what  they  know  about 
the  thing.  But  this  is  only  because  they  have  no  idea  of  the 
conception  which  the  soul  has  of  the  thing  apart  from  or  10 
without  the  words  I  [in  which  it  is  expressed].  It  is  quite 
true  that  (when  there  are  reasons  which  prompt  us  to  do  so) 
we  can,  in  words  or  by  some  other  means,  represent  the 
thing  to  others  differently  from  what  we  know  it  to  be  ;  but 
we  can  never  bring  it  so  far,  either  by  words  or  by  any  other 
means,  that  we  should  feel  about  the  things  differently  from 
what  we  feel  about  them  ;  that  is  impossible,  and  clearly  so 
to  all  who  have  for  once  attended  to  their  understanding 
itself  apart  from  the  use  of  words  or  other  significant 
signs.  20 

Against  this,  however,  some  perchance  may  say :  If  it  is  not 
we,  but  the  thing  itself,  that  makes  the  affirmation  and  denial 
about  itself  in  us,  then  nothing  can  be  affirmed  or  denied 
except  what  is  in  agreement  with  the  thing  ;  and  conse 
quently  there  is  no  falsity.  For  we  have  said  that  falsity 
consists  in  affirming  (or  denying)  aught  of  a  thing  which 
does  not  accord  with  that  thing  ;  that  is,  what  the  thing  does 
not  affirm  or  deny  about  itself.  I  think,  however,  that  if 
only  we  consider  well  what  we  have  already  said  about  Truth 
and  Falsity,  then  we  shall  see  at  once  that  these  objections  3° 
have  already  been  sufficiently  answered.  For  we  have  said 
that  the  object  is  the  cause  of  what  is  affirmed  or  denied 

t  B  :  .  .  .  because  they  make  no  distinction  between  the  idea 
which  the  soul  has  of  a  thing,  and  the  words  in  which  the  same  is 


no          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  thereof,!  be  it  true  or  false  :  *  falsity  arising  thus,*  namely, 
because,  when  we  happen  to  know  something  *  or  a  part  * 
of  an  object,  we  imagine  tt  that  the  object  (although  we  only 
know  very  little  of  it)  nevertheless  affirms  or  denies  that  of 
itself  as  a  whole ;  this  takes  place  mostly  in  feeble  souls, 
which  receive  very  easily  a  mode  or  ttt  an  idea  through  a 
slight  action  of  the  object,  and  make  no  further  affirmation 
or  denial  apart  from  this. 

Lastly,  it  might  also  be  objected  that  there  are  many 

10  things  which  we  *  sometimes  *  want  and  [sometimes  also] 
do  not  want,  tttt  as,  for  example,  to  assert  something  about 
a  thing  or  not  to  assert  it,  to  speak  the  truth,  and  not  to 
speak  it,  and  so  forth.  But  this  results  from  the  fact  that 
Desire  is  not  adequately  distinguished  from  Will,  ttttt 
For  the  Will,  according  to  those  who  maintain  that  there  is 
a  Will,  is  only  the  activity  of  the  understanding  whereby 
we  affirm  or  deny  something  about  a  thing,  with  regard  to 
good  or  evil.  Desire,  however,  is  the  disposition  of  the  soul 
to  obtain  or  to  do  something  for  the  sake  of  the  good  or  evil 

20  that  is  discerned  therein  ;  so  that  even  after  we  have  made 
an  affirmation  or  denial  about  the  thing,  Desire  still  remains, 
namely,  when  we  have  ascertained  or  affirmed  that  the  thing 

t  A :  ...  the  cause  of  that  about  which  something  is  affirmed 
or  denied ;  B  :  the  cause  of  our  affirmation  or  denial  thereof,  .  .  . 

tt  B  continues  :  that  the  whole  is  such ;  this  takes  place  .   .   . 

ttt  B  omits  "a  mode  or." 

tttt  B  continues :  or  about  which  we  [sometimes]  assert  some 
thing,  and  [sometimes]  do  not  assert  it  ... 

ttttt  B  continues  as  follows :  For,  although  they  are  both  ol 
30  them  an  affirmation  or  denial  of  a  thing,  they  nevertheless  differ  in 
this  that  the  last  occurs  without  regard,  and  the  first  with  reference, 
to  the  good  or  evil  which  is  discerned  in  the  thing  :  so  that,  even 
after  we  have  made  the  affirmation  or  denial  about  the  thing,  the 
Desire  itself  remains,  namely,  to  obtain  or  to  do  what  we  have 
ascertained  or  affirmed  to  be  good,  so  that  the  Will  may  well  exist 
without  the  Desire,  but  not  the  Desire  without  the  Will. 

ON  THE  WILL  in 

is  good  ;  such  is  the  Will,  according  to  their  statements,  i 
while  desire  is  the  inclination,  which  we  only  subsequently 
feel,  to  advance  it — so  that,  even  according  to  their  own 
statements,  the  Will  may  well  exist  without  the  Desire, 
but  not  the  Desire  without  the  Will,  which  must  have 
preceded  it. 

All  the  activities,  therefore,  which  we  have  discussed 
above  (since  they  are  carried  out  through  Reason  under  the 
appearance  of  good,  or  are  hindered  by  Reason  under  the 
appearance  of  evil)  can  only  be  subsumed  under  that  inch-  10 
nation  which  is  called  Desire,  and  by  no  means  under  the 
designation  of  Will,  which  is  altogether  inappropriate. 



Now  that  it  is  known  that  we  have  no  *  free  *  will  to  make 
an  affirmation  or  a  denial,  let  us  just  see  what  is  the  correct 
and  true  distinction  between  will  and  desire,  or  what  may 
the  Will  be  which  was  called  by  the  Latins  voluntas.  t 

According  to  Aristotle's  definition,  Desire  appears  to 
be  a  genus  containing  two  species.  For  he  says  that  the 

10  Will  is  the  longing  or  inclination  which  one  feels  towards 
that  which  *  is  or  *  seems  good.  Whence  it  appears  to  me 
that  by  Desire  (or  cupiditas)  he  means  any  inclination,  be  it 
towards  good,  be  it  towards  evil  ;  but  when  the  inclination 
is  only  towards  what  is  *  or  appears  to  be  *  good,  or  when 
the  man  who  has  such  inclination,  has  it  under  the 
appearance  of  good,  then  he  calls  it  voluntas  or  good  will ; 
while,  if  it  is  bad,  that  is,  when  we  observe  in  another  an 
inclination  towards  something  which  is  bad,  tt  he  calls  that 
voluptas  or  bad  will.  So  that  the  inclination  of  the  soul  is 

20  not  something  whereby  affirmations  or  denials  are  made, 
but  only  an  inclination  to  obtain  something  which  appears 
to  be  good,  and  ttt  to  flee  from  what  appears  to  be  bad. 

It,  therefore,  remains  to  inquire  now  whether  the  Desire 
is  free  or  not  free.  In  addition  to  what  we  have  already 
said,  namely,  that  Desire  depends  on  the  idea  of  its  objects,  and 
that  this  understanding  must  have  an  external  cause,  and  in 
addition  also  to  what  we  have  said  about  the  will,  it  still 

t  B  adds :  or  good  will. 

tt  B  :  and  if,  on  the  contrary,  it  is  bad,  or  towards  evil  .  .   . 
3o        ttt  B  :  or. 



remains  to  prove  that  Desire  is  not  free.  Many  people,  i 
although  they  see  quite  well  that  the  knowledge  which  man 
has  of  various  things  is  a  medium  through  which  his  longing 
or  inclination  passes  over  from  one  thing  to  another,  yet 
fail  to  observe  what  that  may  be  which  thus  lures  the 
inclination  from  the  one  to  the  other. 

However,  to  show  that  this  inclination  of  ours  is  not  of 
our  own  free  will  (and  in  order  to  present  vividly  before 
our  eyes  what  it  is  to  pass  over,  and  to  be  drawn,  from  one 
thing  to  another),  we  shall  imagine  a  child  becoming  aware  10 
of  something  for  the  first  time.  For  example,  I  hold  before 
him  a  little  Bell,  which  produces  a  pleasant  sound  for  his 
ears,  so  that  he  conceives  a  longing  for  it ;  consider  now 
whether  he  could  really  help  feeling  this  longing  or  desire. 
If  you  say,  Yes,  then  I  ask,  how,  through  what  cause  *  is  this 
to  happen  *  ?  Certainly  not  through  something  which  he 
knows  to  be  better,  because  this  is  all  that  he  knows  ;  nor, 
again,  through  its  appearing  to  be  bad  to  him,  for  he  knows 
nothing  else,  and  this  pleasure  is  the  very  best  that  has  ever 
come  to  him.  But  perchance  he  has  the  freedom  to  banish  20 
from  him  the  longing  which  he  feels  ;  whence  it  would 
follow  that  this  longing  may  well  arise  in  us  without  our 
free  will,  but  that  all  the  same  we  have  in  us  the  freedom  to 
banish  it  from  us.  This  freedom,  however,  will  not  bear 
examination  ;  for  what,  t  indeed,  might  it  be  that  shall  be 
able  to  annihilate  the  longing  ?  The  longing  itself  ?  Surely 
no,  for  there  is  nothing  that  through  its  own  nature  seeks 
its  own  undoing.  What  then  might  it  ultimately  be  that 
shall  be  able  to  wean  him  from  his  longing  ?  Nothing  else, 
forsooth,  except  that  in  the  natural  order  and  course  of  3° 
things  he  is  affected  by  something  which  he  finds  more 
pleasant  than  the  first.  And,  therefore,  just  as,  when  we  were 
considering  the  Will,  we  said  that  the  human  Will  is  nothing 

IB:   I  say  that  this  freedom  will  not  stand  the  slightest  test. 
This  will  be  clearly  evident ;  for  what,  .  .  . 

u4          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  but  this  and  that  Volition,  so  also  man  has  no  other  than  this 
and  that  Desire  which  is  caused  by  this  and  that  idea  ;  J 
Desire  [in  the  abstract]  is  not  anything  actually  existing  in 
Nature,  but  is  only  an  abstraction  from  the  particular  acts 
of  desiring  this  or  that.  Desire,  then,  as  it  is  not  really  any 
thing,  can  also  not  really  cause  anything.  So  that  when  we 
say  that  Desire  is  free,  it  is  just  as  much  as  if  we  said  that 
this  or  that  Desire  is  its  own  cause — that  is,  that  before  it 
existed  it  had  already  arranged  that  it  should  exist ;  which 
10  is  absurdity  itself,  and  cannot  be. 

I  B  concludes  this  chapter  as  follows  :  If  then  we  say  that  Desire 
is  free,  it  is  just  as  if  we  had  said  that  this  or  that  Desire  is  the 
cause  of  itself,  and,  already  before  it  existed,  had  brought  it  about 
that  it  should  exist :  which  is  absurdity  itself  and  is  impossible. 
And  Desire,  regarded  as  a  universal,  being  nothing  but  an  abstrac 
tion  from  the  particular  acts  of  desiring  this  or  that,  and,  beyond 
this,  not  actually  existing  in  Nature,  can,  as  such,  also  cause 



THUS  we  see  now  that  man,  being  a  part  of  the  whole  of 
Nature,  on  which  he  depends,  and  by  which  also  he  is 
governed,  cannot  of  himself  do  anything  for  his  happiness 
and  well-being  ;  let  us,  then,  just  see  what  Uses  we  can 
derive  from  these  propositions  of  ours.  And  this  [is]  all 
the  more  [necessary]  because  we  have  no  doubt  that  they 
will  appear  not  a  little  offensive  to  some. 

In  the  first  place,  it  follows  therefrom  that  we  are  truly  m 
servants,  aye,  slaves,  of  God,  and  that  it  is  our  greatest 
perfection  to  be  such  necessarily.  For,  if  we  were  thrown 
back  upon  ourselves,  and  thus  not  dependent  on  God,  we 
should  be  able  to  accomplish  very  little,  or  nothing,  and 
that  would  justly  give  us  cause  to  lament  our  lot ;  especially 
so  in  contrast  with  what  we  now  see,  namely,  that  we  are 
dependent  on  that  which  is  the  most  perfect  of  all,  in  such 
a  way  that  we  exist  also  as  a  part  of  the  whole,  that  is,  of 
him  ;  and  we  contribute,  so  to  say,  also  our  share  to  the 
realisation  of  so  many  skilfully  ordered  and  perfect  works,  20 
which  depend  on  him.  I 

Secondly,  this  knowledge  brings  it  about  that  we  do  not 
grow  proud  when  we  have  accomplished  something  excel 
lent  (which  pride  causes  us  to  come  to  a  standstill,  because 

£  B  :  In  the  first  place,  because  we  depend  on  that  which  is  the 
most  perfect  of  all,  in  such  a  way  that,  being  also  a  part  of  the 
whole,  that  is,  of  him,  we  also  contribute  our  share  to  the  realisation 
of  so  many  skilfully  ordered  and  perfect  works,  which  depend  on 
him,  it  follows  therefore  that  we  are  God's  servants,  and  that  it  is 
our  greatest  perfection  to  be  such  necessarily.  30 

n6          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  we  think  that  we  are  already  great,  and  that  we  need  do 
nothing  further ;  thereby  militating  precisely  against  our 
own  perfection,  which  consists  in  this — that  we  must  at  all 
times  endeavour  to  advance  further  and  further)  ;  but  that, 
on  the  contrary,  we  attribute  all  that  we  do  to  God,  who  is 
the  first  and  only  cause  of  all  that  we  accomplish  and 
succeed  in  effecting. 

Thirdly,  in  addition  to  the  fact  that  this  knowledge 
inspires  us  with  a  real  love  of  our  neighbour,  it  shapes  us 

10  so  that  we  never  hate  him,  nor  are  we  angry  with  him,  but 
love  to  help  him,  and  to  improve  his  condition.  All  these 
are  the  actions  of  such  men  as  have  great  perfection  or 

Fourthly,  this  knowledge  also  serves  to  promote  the 
greatest  Common  Good,  because  through  it  a  judge  can 
never  side  with  one  party  more  than  with  the  other,  and 
when  compelled  to  punish  the  one,  and  to  reward  the  other, 
he  will  do  it  with  a  view  to  help  and  to  improve  the  one  as 
much  as  the  other. 

20  Fifthly,  this  knowledge  frees  us  from  Sorrow,  from 
Despair,  from  Envy,  from  Terror,  and  other  evil  passions, 
which,  as  we  shall  presently  say,  constitute  the  real  hell 

Sixthly,  J  this  knowledge  brings  us  so  far  that  we  cease 
to  stand  in  awe  of  God,  as  others  do  of  the  Devil  (whom 
they  imagine),  lest  he  should  do  them  harm.  For  why 
indeed  should  we  fear  God,  who  is  the  highest  good  itself, 
through  whom  all  ihings  are  what  they  are,  and  also  we 
who  live  in  him  ? 

30  *  Seventhly,*  this  knowledge  also  brings  us  so  far  that  we 
attribute  all  to  God,  love  him  alone  because  he  is  the  most 
glorious  and  the  most  perfect,  and  thus  offer  ourselves  up 
entirely  to  him ;  for  these  really  constitute  both  the  true 
service  of  God  and  our  own  eternal  happiness  and  bliss. 

J  A  adds  :  and  lastly. 

ON  THE  USES  OF  THE  FOREGOING         117 

For  the  sole  perfection  and  the  final  end  of  a  slave  and  of  a  i 
tool  is  this,  that  they  duly  fulfil  the  task  imposed  on  them. 
For  example,  if  a  carpenter,  while  doing  some  work,  finds 
his  Hatchet  of  excellent  service,  then  this  Hatchet  has  thereby 
attained  its  end  and  perfection  ;  but  if  he  should  think  : 
this  Hatchet  has  rendered  me  such  good  service  now, 
therefore  I  shall  let  it  rest,  and  exact  no  further  service 
from  it,  then  precisely  this  Hatchet  would  fail  of  its  end, 
and  be  a  Hatchet  no  more.  Thus  also  is  it  with  man,  so 
long  as  he  is  a  part  of  Nature  he  must  follow  the  laws  of  10 
Nature,  and  this  is  divine  service  ;  and  so  long  as  he  does 
this,  it  is  well  with  him.  But  if  God  should  (so  to  say)  will 
that  man  should  serve  him  no  more,  that  would  be  equiva 
lent  to  depriving  him  of  his  well-being  and  annihilating 
him  ;  because  all  that  he  is  consists  in  this,  that  he  serves 



Now  that  we  have  seen  the  advantages  of  this  True  Belief, 
we  shall  endeavour  to  fulfil  the  promise  we  have  made, 
namely,  to  inquire  whether  through  the  knowledge  which 
we  already  have  (as  to  what  is  good,  what  is  evil,  what  truth 
is,  and  what  falsity  is,  and  what,  in  general,  the  uses  of  all 
these  are),  whether,  I  say,  we  can  thereby  attain  to  our  well- 
being,  namely,  the  Love  of  God  (which  we  have  remarked  to 
10  be  our  supreme  happiness),  and  also  in  what  way  we  can  free 
ourselves  from  the  passions  which  we  have  judged  to  be  bad. 
To  begin  with  the  consideration  of  the  last,  namely,  of  the 
liberation  from  the  passions,!  I  say  that,  if  we  suppose  that 
they  have  no  other  causes  than  those  which  we  have  assigned 
to  them,  then,  provided  only  we  use  our  understanding 
aright,  as  we  can  do  very  easily  ft  (now  that  we  have  a 

f  All  passions  which  come  in  conflict  with  good  Reason  (as  is 
shown  above)  arise  from  Opinion.  All  that  is  good  or  bad  in  them, 
is  shown  to  us  by  True  Belief ;  these,  however — both,  or  either  of 

20  the  two — are  not  able  to  free  us  from  them.  It  is  only  the  third 
kind,  namely,  True  Knowledge,  that  emancipates  from  them.  And 
without  this  it  is  impossible  that  we  should  ever  be  set  free  from 
them,  as  will  be  shown  subsequently  (page  133).  Might  not  this 
well  be  that  about  which,  though  under  different  designations,  others 
say  and  write  so  much  ?  For  who  does  not  see  how  conveniently 
we  can  interpret  opinion  as  sin  ;  belief,  as  the  law  which  makes  sin 
known  •  and  true  knowledge,  as  grace  which  redeems  us  from  sin  ? 
ft  Can  do  very  easily ;  that  is  to  say,  when  we  have  a  thorough 
knowledge  of  good  and  evil :  for  then  it  is  impossible  to  be  subject 

30  to  that  from  which  the  passions  arise :  because  when  we  know  and 
enjoy  what  is  best,  that  which  is  worst  has  no  power  over  us. 



criterion    of    truth    and    falsity),   we    shall    never   fall    into   i 

But  what  we  have  now  to  prove  is  that  they  have  no  other 
causes  ;  for  this,  methinks,  it  is  required  that  we  should 
study  ourselves  in  our  entirety,  having  regard  to  the  body 
as  well  as  to  the  spirit. 

And  first  [we  have]  to  show  that  in  Nature  there  is  a  body 
through  whose  form  and  activities  we  are  affected,  and  thus 
become  aware  of  it.  And  the  reason  why  we  do  this  is, 
because  when  we  get  an  insight  into  the  activities  of  the  10 
body  and  the  effects  which  they  produce,  then  we  shall  also 
discover  the  first  and  foremost  cause  of  all  those  passions  ; 
and,  at  the  same  time,  also  that  through  which  all  those 
passions  might  be  annihilated.  From  this  we  shall  then  also 
be  able  to  see  whether  it  is  possible  to  do  such  a  thing  by  the 
aid  of  Reason.  And  then  we  shall  also  proceed  to  speak 
about  our  Love  of  God. 

Now  to  prove  that  there  is  a  body  in  Nature,  can  be  no 
difficult  task  for  us,  now  that  we  already  know  that  God  is, 
and  what  God  is  ;  whom  we  have  defined  as  a  being  of  20 
infinite  attributes,  each  of  which  is  infinite  and  perfect.  And 
since  extension  is  an  attribute  which  we  have  shown  to  be 
infinite  in  its  kind,  it  must  therefore  also  necessarily  be  an 
attribute  of  that  infinite  being.  And  as  we  have  also  already 
demonstrated  that  this  infinite  being  exists,  it  follows  at  once 
that  this  attribute  also  exists. 

Moreover,  since  we  have  also  proved  that  outside  Nature, 
which  is  infinite,  there  is,  and  can  be,  no  being,  it  is  clearly 
manifest  that  this  effect  of  body  through  which  we 
become  aware  [of  it]  can  proceed  from  nothing  else  than  30 
from  extension  itself,  and  by  no  means  from  something  else 
which  (as  some  will  have  it)  has  extension  in  an  eminent 
degree  [eminenter]  t  :  for  (as  we  have  already  shown  in  the 
first  chapter)  there  is  no  such  thing. 

J  B  :  which  is  more  excellent  than  extension. 

120          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  We  have  to  remark,  therefore,  that  all  the  effects  which 
are  seen  to  depend  necessarily  on  extension  must  be  attri 
buted  to  this  attribute  ;  such  as  Motion  and  Rest.  For  if 
the  power  to  produce  these  did  not  exist  in  Nature,  then  (even 
though  it  [Nature]  might  have  many  other  attributes)  it  would 
be  impossible  that  these  should  exist  For  if  a  thing  is  to 
produce  something  then  there  must  be  that  in  it  through 
which  it,  rather  than  another,  can  produce  that  something. 

What  we  have  just  said  here  about  extension,  the  same 
10  we  also  wish  to  be  regarded  as  though  it  had  been  said  about 
thought,  and  *  further  *  about  all  that  is. 

It  is  to  be  observed  further,  that  there  is  nothing  what 
ever  in  us,  but  we  have  the  power  to  become  aware  of  it : 
so  that  if  we  find  that  there  is  nothing  else  in  us  except  the 
effects  of  the  thinking  thing  and  those  of  extension,  then 
we  may  say  with  certainty  that  there  is  nothing  else  in  us. 

In  order  that  the  workings  of  both  these  may  be  clearly 
understood,  we  shall  take  them  up  first  each  by  itself  only, 
and  afterwards  both  together ;  as  also  the  effects  of  both 
20  the  one  and  the  other. 

Now  when  we  consider  extension  alone,  then  we  become 
aware  of  nothing  else  in  it  except  Motion  and  Rest,  from 
which  we  then  discover  all  the  effects  that  result  there 
from.  And  these  two  t  modes  of  body  are  such  that  it 
is  impossible  for  any  other  thing  to  change  them,  except 
only  themselves.  Thus,  for  example,  when  a  stone  lies  still, 
then  it  is  impossible  that  it  should  be  moved  by  the  power 
of  thought  or  anything  else,  but  [it  may]  well  [be  moved] 
by  motion,  J  as  when  another  stone,  having  greater  motion 
30  than  this  has  rest,  makes  it  move.  Likewise  also  the  moving 
stone  will  not  be  made  to  rest  except  through  something 
else  which  has  less  motion.  It  follows,  accordingly,  that  no 
mode  of  thought  can  bring  motion  or  rest  into  a  body.  In 

f  Two  modes :  because  Rest  is  not  Nothing. 
I  B  :  by  the  motion  of  something  else. 


accordance,  however,  with  what  we  observe  in  ourselves,  it  i 
may  well  happen  that  a  body  which  is  moving  now  in  one 
direction  may  nevertheless  turn  aside  in  another  direction  ; 
as  when  I  stretch  out  my  arm  and  thereby  bring  it  about 
that  the  [vital]  spirits  which  were  already  moving  in  a 
different  direction,!  nevertheless  move  now  in  this  direction, 
though  not  always,  but  according  to  the  disposition  of  the 
[vital]  spirits,  as  will  be  stated  presently. 

The  cause  of  this  can  be  none  other  than  that  the  soul, 
being  an  Idea  of  this  body,  is  united  with  it  in  such  a  way  10 
that  it  and  this  body,  thus  constituted,  together  form  a  whole. 

The  most  important  effect  of  the  other  *  or  thinking  * 
attribute  is  an  Idea  of  things,  which  is  such  that,  accord 
ing  to  the  manner  in  which  it  apprehends  them,  there  arises 
either  Love  or  Hatred,  &c.  This  effect,  then,  as  it  implies 
no  extension,  can  also  not  be  attributed  to  the  same,  but 
only  to  thought  ;  so  that,  whatever  the  changes  which 
happen  to  arise  in  this  mode,  their  cause  must  on  no  account 
be  sought  for  in  extension,  but  only  in  the  thinking  thing. 
We  can  see  this,  for  instance,  in  the  case  of  Love,  which,  20 
whether  it  is  to  be  suppressed  or  whether  it  is  to  be 
awakened,  can  only  be  thus  affected  through  the  idea  it 
self,  and  this  happens,  as  we  have  already  remarked,  either 
because  something  bad  is  perceived  to  be  in  the  object,  or 
because  something  better  comes  to  be  known.!!  Now  when 
ever  these  attributes  happen  to  act  the  one  on  the  other, 
there  results  a  passivity  which  one  suffers  from  the  other  ; 
namely  [in  the  case  of  extension],  through  the  determination 
of  movements  which  we  have  the  power  to  direct  in  what 
ever  direction  we  please.  The  process,  then,  whereby  the  3° 
one  comes  to  be  passively  affected  by  the  other,  is  this  : 

J  B  :   which  were  already  moving,  though  not  in  this  direction. 

H  B  :  either  because  something  good  is  perceived  in  the  loved 
object,  or  because  something  bad  is  perceived  in  the  hated 

122          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  namely,  the  soul  in  I  the  body,  as  has  already  been  remarked, 
can  well  bring  it  about  that  the  [vital]  spirits,  which  would 
otherwise  move  in  the  one  direction,  should  nevertheless 
move  in  the  other  direction  ;  and  since  these  [vital]  spirits 
can  also  be  made  to  move,  and  therefore  directed,  by  the 
body,  it  may  frequently  happen  that,  when  the  body  directs 
their  movements  towards  one  place,  while  the  soul  directs 
them  towards  another  place,  they  bring  about  and  occasion 
in  us  those  peculiar  fits  of  depression  which  we  sometimes 

10  feel  without  knowing  the  reasons  why  we  have  them.  For 
otherwise  the  reasons  are  generally  well  known  to  us. 

Furthermore,  the  power  which  the  soul  has  to  move  the 
[vital]  spirits  may  well  be  hindered  also  either  because  the 
motion  of  the  [vital]  spirits  is  much  diminished,  or  because 
it  is  much  increased.  Diminished,  as  when,  having  run 
much,  we  bring  it  about  that  the  [vital]  spirits,  owing  to 
this  running,  impart  to  the  body  much  more  than  the  usual 
amount  of  motion,!!  and  by  losing  this  [motion]  they  are 
necessarily  that  much  weakened  ;  this  may  also  happen 

20  through  taking  all  too  little  food.  Increased,  as  when,  by 
drinking  too  much  wine  or  other  strong  drink,  we  thereby 
become  either  merry  or  drunk,  and  bring  it  about  that  the 
soul  has  no  power  to  control  the  body. 

Having  said  thus  much  about  the  influences  which  the 
soul  exercises  on  the  body,  let  us  now  consider  the  influences 
of  the  body  on  the  soul.  The  most  important  of  these,  we 
maintain,  is  that  it  causes  the  soul  to  become  aware  of  it, 
and  through  it  also  of  other  bodies.  This  is  effected  by 
Motion  and  Rest  conjointly,  and  by  nothing  else  :  for  the 

30  body  has  nothing  else  than  these  wherewith  to  operate  ;  so 
that  whatever  else  comes  to  the  soul,  besides  this  aware 
ness,  cannot  be  caused  through  the  body.  And  as  the  first 

t  A  and  B  :  the  soul  and  the  body. 

H  B  continues  thus :  in  which  they  had  a  strong  in — and 
through — flow  which  weakened  them. 


thing  \vhich  the  soul  gets  to  know  is  the  body,  the  result  is  i 
that  the  soul  loves  it  so,  and  becomes  united  with  it.  But 
since,  as  we  have  already  said  before,  the  cause  of  Love, 
Hatred,  and  Sorrow  must  not  be  sought  for  in  the  body  but 
only  in  the  soul  (because  all  the  activities  of  the  body  must 
proceed  from  motion  and  rest),  and  since  we  see  clearly  and 
distinctly  that  one  love  comes  to  an  end  as  soon  as  we  come 
to  know  something  else  that  is  better,  it  follows  clearly  from 
all  this  that,  //  once  we  get  to  know  God,  at  least  with  a  know 
ledge  as  clear  as  that  with  which  we  also  know  our  body,  then  10 
we  must  become  united  with  him  even  more  closely  than  we  are 
with  our  body,  and  be,  as  it  were,  released  from  the  body.  I 
say  more  closely,  because  we  have  already  proved  before  that 
without  him  we  can  neither  be,  nor  be  known  ;  and  this  is 
so  because  we  know  and  must  know  him,  not  through  some 
thing  else,  as  is  the  case  with  all  other  things,  but  only 
through  himself,  as  we  have  already  said  before.  Indeed, 
we  know  him  better  even  than  we  know  ourselves,  because 
without  him  we  could  not  know  ourselves  at  all. 

From  what  we  have  said  so  far  it  is  easily  gathered  which  2o 
are  the  chief  causes  of  the  passions.  For,  as  regards  the 
Body  with  its  effects,  Motion  and  Rest,  t  these  cannot 
affect  the  soul  otherwise  except  so  as  to  make  themselves 
known  to  it  as  objects  ;  and  according  to  the  appearances 
which  they  present  to  it,  that  is  according  as  they  appear 
good  or  bad,t  so  also  is  the  soul  affected  by  them,  and  that 

t  B  adds  :  or  their  effects. 

f  But  *  if  it  be  asked  *  whence  comes  it  that  we  know  that  the 
one  is  good,  the  other  bad  ?  Answer  :  Since  it  is  the  objects  which 
cause  us  to  become  aware  of  them,  we  are  affected  by  the  one  30 
differently,  in  proportion  than  by  the  other.  JJ  Now  these  by  which 
we  are  affected  most  harmoniously  (as  regards  the  proportion  of 
motion  and  rest,  of  which  they  consist)  are  most  agreeable  to  us,JJI 
and  as  they  depart  more  and  more  from  this  [harmonious  propor- 

H  These  six  words  are  crossed  out  in  A. 
Jit  B  omits  the  rest  of  this  sentence. 

i24          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  [happens]  not  inasmuch  as  it  is  a  body  (for  then  the  body 
would  be  the  principal  cause  of  the  passions),  but  inasmuch 
as  it  is  an  object  like  all  other  things,  which  would  also  act 
in  the  same  way  if  they  happened  to  reveal  themselves  to  the 
soul  in  the  same  way.  (By  this,  however,  I  do  not  mean  to  say 
that  the  Love,  Hatred,  and  Sorrow  which  proceed  from  the 
contemplation  of  incorporeal  things  produce  the  same  effects 
as  those  which  arise  from  the  contemplation  of  corporeal 
things  ;  for,  as  we  shall  presently  say,  these  have  yet  other 

10  effects  according  to  the  nature  of  the  thing  through  the 
apprehension  of  which  Love,  Hatred,  and  Sorrow,  &c.,  are 
awakened  in  the  soul  which  contemplates  the  incorporeal 
things.)  So  that,  to  return  to  our  previous  subject,  if  some 
thing  else  should  appear  to  the  soul  to  be  more  glorious  than 
the  body  really  is,  it  is  certain  that  the  body  would  then  have 
no  power  to  produce  such  effects  as  it  certainly  does  now. 
Whence  it  follows,!  not  alone  that  the  body  is  not  the  principal 
cause  of  the  passions,  but  also  that  even  if  there  were  in  us 
something  else  besides  what  we  have  just  stated  to  be  capable, 

20  in  our  opinion,  of  producing  the  passions,  such  a  thing,  even 
if  there  were  such,  could  likewise  affect  the  soul  neither 
more  nor  differently  than  the  body  does  in  fact  now.  For 
it  could  never  be  anything  else  than  such  an  object  as  would 

tion,  they  tend  to  be]  most  disagreeable.  And  hence  arises  every 
kind  of  feeling  of  which  we  become  aware,  and  which,  when  it  acts 
on  our  body,  as  it  often  does,  through  material  objects,  we  call 
impulses ;  for  instance,  a  man  who  is  sorrowing  can  be  made  to 
laugh,  or  be  made  merry,  by  being  tickled,  or  by  drinking  wine,  &c., 
which  [impulses]  the  soul  becomes  indeed  aware  of,  but  does  not 
30  produce.  For,  when  it  operates,  the  merriments  are  real  and  of 
another  kind ;  because  then  it  is  no  body  that  operates,  but  the 
intelligent  soul  uses  the  body  as  a  tool,  and,  consequently,  as  the 
soul  is  more  active  in  this  case,  so  is  the  feeling  more  perfect. 

t  A  continues  thus :  not  that  the  body  alone  is  the  principal 
cause  of  the  passions  .  .  . ;  B  :  that  the  body  alone  is  not  the 
principal  cause  of  the  passions  .  .  . 


once  for  all  be  different  from  the  soul,  and  would  conse 
quently  show  itself  to  be  such  and  no  other,  as  we  have  like 
wise  stated  also  of  the  body.  So  that  we  may,  with  truth, 
conclude  that  Love,  Hatred,  Sorrow,  and  other  passions  are 
produced  in  the  soul  in  various  forms  according  to  the  kind 
of  knowledge  which,  from  time  to  time,  it  happens  to  have 
of  the  thing  ;  and  consequently,  if  once  it  can  come  to 
know  the  most  glorious  of  all,  it  should  be  impossible  for 
any  of  these  passions  to  succeed  in  causing  it  the  least 



Now,  as  regards  what  we  have  said  in  the  preceding 
chapter,  the  following  difficulties  might  be  raised  by  way  of 
objection.  I 

First,  if  motion  is  not  the  cause  of  the  passions  then  why 
is  it  possible,  nevertheless,  to  banish  sorrow  by  the  aid  of 
certain  II  means,  as  is  often  done  by  means  of  wine  ?  To 
this  it  serves  [as  an  answer]  that  a  distinction  must  be 

10  made  between  the  soul's  awareness,  when  it  first  be 
comes  aware  of  the  body,  and  the  judgment  which  it 
presently  comes  to  form  as  to  whether  it  is  good  or  bad 
for  it.t 

Now  the  soul,  being  such  as  just  lit  stated,  has,  as  we 
have  already  shown  before,  the  power  to  move  the  [vital] 
spirits  whithersoever  it  pleases  ;  but  this  power  may,  never 
theless,  be  taken  away  from  it,  as  when,  owing  to  other 
causes  [arising  out]  of  the  body  generally,  their  form,  con 
stituted  by  certain  proportions  [of  motion  and  rest],  dis- 

20  appears  or  is  changed  ;  and  when  it  becomes  aware  of  this 
[change]  in  it,  there  arises  sorrow,  which  varies  with  the 

I  B  inserts  here  a  preliminary  statement  of  the  three  objections 
which  follow,  and  then  repeats  them  each  in  its  place,  as  in  the 

H  A  has  geene  [no]  but  this  was  crossed  out  by  Monnikhoff  and 
replaced  by  eenige  [some,  or  certain]. 

f  That  is,  between  understanding  considered  generally,  and 
understanding  having  special  regard  to  the  good  or  evil  of  the 

3o  III  A  :  nu  mediate,  possibly  a  slip  for  immediate,  that  is,  "  im 
mediately  [above]."  B  :  nu  onmiddelijk  [immediately]. 



change   which    the   [vital]    spirits    undergo.     This   sorrow   i 
results  from  its  love  for,  and  union  with,  the  body.t 

That  this  is  so  may  be  easily  deduced  from  the  fact  that 
this  sorrow  can  be  alleviated  in  one  of  these  two  ways  ; 
either  by  restoring  the  [vital]  spirits  to  their  original  form 
that  is  by  relieving  him  of  the  pain,  or  by  being  persuaded 
by  good  reasons  to  make  no  ado  about  this  body.  The 
first  is  temporary,  and  [the  sorrow]  is  liable  to  return  ;  but 
the  second  is  eternal,  permanent,  and  unchangeable. 

The  second  objection  may  be  this  :  as  we  see  that  the  10 
soul,  although  it  has  nothing  in  common  with  the  body, 
can  yet  bring  it  about  that  the  [vital]  spirits,  although  they 
were  about  to  move  in  one  direction,  nevertheless  move 
now  in  the  other  direction,  why  should  it  not  also  be  able 
to  effect  that  a  body  which  is  perfectly  still  and  at  rest 
should  begin  to  move  itself  ?  ft  likewise,  why  should  it  not 
also  be  able  to  move  in  whatever  direction  it  pleases  all 
other  bodies  which  are  already  in  motion  ? 

f  Man's  sorrow  is  caused  by  the  thought  that  some  evil  is 
befalling  him,  namely,  through  the  loss  of  some  good  ;  when  such  20 
a  thought  is  entertained,  the  result  is,  that  the  [vital]  spirits  gather 
about  the  heart,  and,  with  the  help  of  other  parts,  press  it  together 
and  enclose  it,  just  the  reverse  of  what  happens  in  the  case  of  joy. 
Then  the  soul  becomes  aware  of  this  pressure,  and  is  pained.  Now 
what  is  it  that  medicines  or  wine  effect  ?  This,  namely,  that  by  their 
action  they  drive  away  the  [vital]  spirits  from  the  heart,  and  make 
room  again,  and  when  the  soul  becomes  aware  of  this,  it  receives 
new  animation,  which  consists  in  this,  that  the  thought  of  evil  is 
diverted  by  the  change  in  the  proportion  of  motion  and  rest,  which 
the  wine  has  caused,  and  it  turns  to  something  else  in  which  the  30 
understanding  finds  more  satisfaction.  But  this  cannot  be  the 
immediate  effect  of  the  wine  on  the  soul,  but  only  of  the  wine  on 
the  [vital]  spirits. 

tf  Now,  there  is  no  difficulty  here  as  to  how  the  one  mode,  which 
is  infinitely  different  from  the  other,  yet  acts  on  the  other :  for  it  is 
a  part  of  the  whole,  since  the  soul  never  existed  without  the  body, 

128          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

1  But  if  we  recall  what  we  have  already  said  before  con 
cerning  the  thinking  thing,  it  can  remove  this  difficulty  for 
us  quite  easily.  Namely,  we  then  said  that  although  Nature 
has  various  attributes,  it  is,  all  the  same,  but  one  only 
Being,  of  which  all  these  attributes  are  predicated.  Be 
sides  this  we  have  also  said  that  the  thinking  thing,  too, 
was  but  one  only  thing  in  Nature,  and  is  expressed  in 
infinite  Ideas,  in  accordance  with  the  infinite  things  which 
exist  in  Nature  ;  for  if  the  body  receives  such  a  mode  as, 

Jo  nor  the  body  without  the  soul.J  We  arrive  at  this  [conclusion]  as 
follows  : 

i.  There  is  a  perfect  being,  page  — 4t  2.  There  cannot  be  two 
substances,  page  — .  3.  No  substance  can  have  a  beginning, 
page  — .  4.  Each  is  infinite  in  its  kind,  page  — .  5.  There  must 
also  be  an  attribute  of  thought,  page  — .  6.  There  is  no  thing  in 
Nature,  but  there  is  an  Idea  of  it  in  the  thinking  thing,  resulting  from 
its  essence  and  existence  in  conjunction,  page  — .  7.  Conse 
quently,  now  :  8.  Since  their  essence,  without  their  existence,  is 
implied  in  the  designations  of  things,  therefore  the  Idea  of  the 

20  essence  cannot  be  regarded  as  something  separate;  this  can  only 
be  done  when  there  is  both  existence  and  essence,  because  then  there 
is  an  object,  which  before  was  not.  For  example,  when  the  whole 
wall  is  white,  there  is  no  this  or  that  in,  &c.  9.  Now,  this  Idea, 
considered  by  itselt,  and  apart  from  all  other  Ideas,  can  be  no  more 
than  a  mere  Idea  of  such  a  thing,  and  it  cannot  be  that  it  has  an 
Idea  of  such  a  thing ;  [add]  moreover,  that  such  an  Idea,  thus 
regarded,  since  it  is  only  a  part,  can  have  no  very  clear  and  very 
distinct  conception  of  itselt  and  its  object,  but  only  the  thinking 
thing,  which  is  the  whole  of  Nature,  can  have  this ;  for,  a  part  con- 

30  sidered  without  its  whole,  cannot,  &c.  10.  Between  the  Idea  and 
the  object  there  must  necessarily  be  a  union,  because  the  one  can 
not  exist  without  the  other :  for  there  is  no  thing  whose  Idea  is  not 
in  the  thinking  thing,  and  no  Idea  can  exist  unless  the  thing  also 
exists.  Furthermore  the  object  cannot  change  without  the  Idea 

J  B  omits  the  rest  of  this  note,  but  adds  here  the  next  note :  *  For;  *  it 
is  clear  .  .  . 

JJ  The  number  of  the  page  (in  notes  1-6)  is  not  given  in  the  MSS. 
See  Commentary. 


for  example,  the  body  of  Peter,  and  again  another  such  as  i 
is  the  body  of  Paul,  the  result  of  this  is  that  there  are  in  the 
thinking  thing  two  different  Ideas  :  namely,  one  idea  of  the 
body  of  Peter,  which  constitutes  the  Soul  of  Peter,  and 
another  of  [the  body  of]  Paul,  which  constitutes  the  Soul 
of  Paul.  Now  the  thinking  thing  can  well  move  the  body 
of  Peter  by  means  of  the  Idea  of  the  body  of  Peter,  but 
not  by  means  of  the  Idea  of  the  body  of  Paul  ;  so  that  the 
soul  of  Paul  can  well  move  its  own  body,  but  by  no  means 
that  of  another,  such  as  that  of  Peter. f  And  for  this  reason  I0 

changing  also,  and  vice  versa,  so  that  there  is  here  no  need  for  a 
third  thing  that  should  bring  about  the  union  of  soul  and  body.  It 
is  to  be  remarked,  however,  that  we  are  speaking  here  of  such  Ideas 
which  necessarily  arise  from  the  existence  of  the  things  together 
with  their  essence  in  God ;  but  not  of  the  Ideas  which  the  things 
now  actually  present  to  us,  [or]  produce  in  us.  There  is  a  great 
difference  between  these  :  for  the  Ideas  in  God  do  not  arise  as  they 
do  in  us  by  way  of  one  or  more  of  the  senses,  which  are  therefore 
almost  always  only  imperfectly  affected  by  them  ;  but  from  their 
existence  and  their  essence,  just  as  they  are.  My  idea,  however,  is  20 
not  yours,  although  one  and  the  same  thing  produces  them  in  us. 

t  It  is  clear  that  in  man,  because  he  had  a  beginning,  there  is  to 
be  found  no  other  attribute  than  such  as  existed  in  Nature  already 
before. — And  since  he  consists  of  such  a  body  of  which  there  must 
necessarily  be  an  Idea  in  the  thinking  thing,  and  the  Idea  must 
necessarily  be  united  with  the  body,  therefore  we  assert  without  fear 
that  his  Soul  is  nothing  else  than  this  Idea  of  his  body  in  the  think 
ing  thing.  And  as  this  body  has  a  J  motion  and  rest  (which  has  its 
proportion  determined,  and  JJ  is  usually  altered,  through  external  30 
objects),  and  as  no  alteration  can  take  place  in  the  object  without 
occurring  also  immediately  in  the  Idea,  the  result  is  that  people  feel 
(idea  reflexiva).Hl  Now  I  say,  as  it  has  *a  certain  measure  or* 
proportion  of  motion  and  rest,  because  no  process  can  take  place  in 
the  body  without  these  two  concurring. 

B :  has  a  certain  measure  of  ... 
I  B  omits  these  five  words. 
H  B:  that  people  have  "  reflexive  "  ideas. 

130          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

j  also  it  cannot  move  a  stone  which  rests  or  lies  still  : 
because  the  stone,  again,  makes  another  Idea  in  the 
Soul.  Hence  also  it  is  no  less  clear  that  it  is  impossible 
that  a  stone,  which  is  perfectly  at  rest  and  still,  should  be 
made  to  move  by  any  mode  of  thought,  for  the  same 
reasons  as  above. 

The  third  objection  may  be  this  :  We  seem  to  be  able  to 
see  clearly  that  we  can,  nevertheless,  produce  a  certain 
stillness  in  the  body.  For,  after  we  have  kept  moving  our 
[vital]  spirits  for  a  long  time,  we  find  that  we  are  tired  ; 
which,  assuredly,  is  nothing  else  than  a  certain  stillness  in 
the  [vital]  spirits  brought  about  by  ourselves.  We  answer, 
however,  that  it  is  quite  true  that  the  soul  is  a  cause  of  this 
stillness,  but  only  indirectly  ;  for  it  puts  a  stop  to  the 
movement  not  directly,  but  only  through  other  bodies 
which  it  has  moved,  and  which  must  then  necessarily  have 
lost  as  much  as  they  had  imparted  to  the  [vital]  spirits.! 
It  is  therefore  clear  on  all  sides  that  in  Nature  there  is 
*only  *  one  and  the  same  kind  of  motion. 

t  B  :  The  Answer  is  that,  although  it  may  be  true  that  the 
Soul  is  a  cause  of  this  rest,  still  it  does  not  bring  it  about  imme 
diately,  but  only  through  other  bodies,  which  necessarily  impart  to 
the  moving  [vital]  spirits  just  as  much  rest  as  they  receive  motion 
from  them. 



AT  present  we  have  to  inquire  why  it  happens  that  some 
times,  although  we  see  that  a  certain  thing  is  good  or  bad, 
we  nevertheless  do  not  find  in  us  the  power  either  to  do  the 
good  or  to  abstain  from  the  bad,  and  sometimes,  however, 
we  do  indeed  [find  this  power  in  us].  This  we  can  easily 
understand  if  we  consider  the  causes  that  we  assigned  to 
opinions,  which  we  stated  to  be  the  causes  of  all  affects. 
These,  we  then  said,  [arise]  either  from  hearsay,  or  from  10 
experience.  And  since  all  that  we  find  in  ourselves  has 
greater  power  over  us  than  that  which  comes  to  us  from 
outside,  it  certainly  follows  that  Reason  can  be  the  cause 
of  the  extinction  of  opinions  f  which  we  have  got  from  hear 
say  only  (and  this  is  so  because  reason  has  not  *like  these* 

f  It  is  all  the  same  whether  we  use  here  the  word  opinion  or 
passion  ;  and  so  it  is  clear  why  we  cannot  conquer  by  means  of 
Reason  those  that  have  come  to  us  through  experience ;  for  these 
are  nothing  else  than  an  enjoyment  of,  or  immediate  union  with, 
something  that  we  judge  to  be  good,  and  Reason,  though  it  teaches  20 
us  what  is  better,  does  not  make  us  enjoy  it.  Now  that  which  we 
enjoy  in  us  cannot  be  conquered  by  that  which  we  do  not  enjoy, 
and  is  outside  us,  as  that  is  which  Reason  suggests.  But  if  these 
are  to  be  overcome  then  there  must  be  something  that  is  more 
powerful ;  in  this  way  there  will  be  an  enjoyment  or  immediate 
union  with  something  that  is  better  known  and  enjoyed  than  this 
first;  and  when  this  exists  victory  is  always  assured;  or,  indeed, 
*this  victory  comes*  also  through  tasting  an  evil  which  is  recognised 
to  be  greater  than  the  good  that  was  enjoyed,  and  upon  which  it 
follows  immediately.  Still,  experience  teaches  us  that  this  evil  does  30 
not  necessarily  always  follow  thus,  for,  &c.  See  pages  78,  118. 

132          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  come  to  us  from  outside),  but  by  no  means  of  those 
which  we  have  got  from  experience.  For  the  power  which 
the  thing  itself  gives  us  is  always  greater  than  that  which 
we  obtain  by  way  of  consequence  through  a  second  thing  ; 
we  noted  this  difference  when  speaking  of  reasoning  and  of 
clear  understanding,  page  67,  and  we  did  so  with  the  rule 
of  three  as  an  illustration.  For  more  power  comes  to  us 
from  the  understanding  of  proportion  t  itself,  than  from 
the  understanding  of  the  rule  of  proportion.  And  it  is  for 

10  this  reason  that  we  have  said  so  often  that  one  love  may  be 
extinguished  by  another  which  is  greater,  because  in  saying 
this  we  did  not,  by  any  means,  intend  to  refer  to  desire 
which  *does  not,  like  love,  come  from  true  knowledge,  but* 
comes  from  reasoning. 

I  A  and  B  :  the  rule. 


SINCE,  then,  Reason  has  no  power  to  lead  us  to  the  attain 
ment  of  our  well-being,  it  remains  for  us  to  inquire  whether 
we  can  attain  it  through  the  fourth,  and  last,  kind  of  know 
ledge.  Now  we  have  said  that  this  kind  of  knowledge  does 
not  result  from  something  else,  but  from  a  direct  revelation 
of  the  object  itself  to  the  understanding.  And  if  that 
object  is  glorious  and  good,  then  the  soul  becomes 
necessarily  united  with  it,  as  we  have  also  remarked  with  10 
reference  to  our  body.  Hence  it  follows  incontrovertibly 
that  it  is  this  knowledge  which  evokes  love.  So  that  when 
we  get  to  know  God  after  this  manner  then  (as  he  cannot 
reveal  himself,  nor  become  known  to  us  otherwise  than  as 
the  most  glorious  and  best  of  all)  we  must  necessarily 
become  united  with  him.  And  only  in  this  *  union,*  as  we 
have  already  remarked,  does  our  blessedness  consist. 

I  do  not  say  that  we  must  know  him  just  as  he  is,  *or 
adequately,*  for  it  is  sufficient  for  us  to  know  him  to  some 
extent,  in  order  to  be  united  with  him.  For  even  the  20 
knowledge  that  we  have  of  the  body  is  not  such  that  we 
know  it  just  as  it  is,  or  perfectly  ;  and  yet,  what  a  union  ! 
what  a  love  ! 

That  this  fourth  [kind  of]  knowledge,  which  is  the 
knowledge  of  God,  is  not  the  consequence  of  something 
else,  but  immediate,  is  evident  from  what  we  have  proved 
before,  [namely,]  that  he  is  the  cause  of  all  knowledge  that 
is  acquired  through  itself  alone,  and  through  no  other 
thing  ;  moreover,  also  from  this,  that  we  are  so  united  with 
him  by  nature  that  without  him  we  can  neither  be,  nor  be  30 

134          GOD;  MAN>  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  known.  And  for  this  reason,  since  there  is  such  a  close 
union  between  God  and  us,  it  is  evident  that  we  cannot 
know  him  except  directly. 

We  shall  endeavour  to  explain,  next,  this  union  of  ours 
with  him  through  nature  and  love. 

We  said  before  that  in  Nature  there  can  be  nothing  of 
which  there  should  not  be  an  Idea  in  the  soul  of  that  same 
thing.f  And  according  as  the  thing  is  either  more  or  less 
perfect,  so  also  is  the  union  and  the  influence  of  the  Idea 
10  with  the  thing,  or  with  God  himself,  less  or  more  perfect. 
For  as  the  whole  of  Nature  is  but  one  only  substance,  and 
one  whose  essence  is  infinite,  all  things  are  united  through 
Nature,  and  they  are  united  into  one  [being],  namely,  God. 
And  now,  as  the  body  is  the  very  first  thing  of  which  our 
soul  becomes  aware  (because  as  already  remarked,  no  thing 
can  exist  in  Nature,  the  Idea  of  which  is  not  in  the  thinking 
thing,  this  Idea  being  the  soul  of  that  thing)  so  that  thing 
must  necessarily  be  the  first  cause  of  the 

But,  as  this  Idea  can  by  no  means  find  rest  in  the  know- 
20  ledge  of  the  body  without  passing  on  to  the  knowledge  of 
that  without  which  the  body  and  Idea  could  neither  be,  nor 
be  understood,  so  (after  knowing  it  first)  it  becomes  united 
with  it  immediately  through  love.  This  union  is  better 
understood,  and  one  may  gather  what  it  must  be  like,  from 
its  action  with  the  body,  in  which  we  see  how  through 

f  This  also  explains  what  we  said  in  the  first  part,  namely,  that 
the  infinite  understanding  must  exist  in  Nature  from  all  eternity, 
and  why  we  called  it  the  son  of  God.  For,  as  God  existed  from 
eternity,  his  Idea  must  also  be  in  the  thinking  thing,  that  is,  in  him- 
30  self  *from  eternity*  ,  objective  this  Idea  coincides  with  himself;  see 
page  57. 

ft  That  is  J  our  soul  being  an  Idea  of  the  body  derives  its  first 
being  from  the  body,  but  JJ  it  is  only  a  representation  of  the  body, 
both  as  a  whole  and  in  its  parts,  in  the  thinking  thing. 

J  B  inserts  "in"  after  "is."  }{  A:  for;  B:  but. 


knowledge  of,  and  feelings  towards  corporeal  things,  there  i 
arise  in  us  all  the  effects  which  we  are  constantly  becoming 
aware  of  in  the  body,  through  the  movements  of  the  [vital] 
spirits  ;  and  therefore  (if  once  our  knowledge  and  love 
come  to  embrace  that  without  which  we  can  neither  be, 
nor  be  understood,  and  which  is  in  no  way  corporeal)  how 
incomparably  greater  and  more  glorious  will  and  must  be 
the  kind  of  effects  resulting  from  this  union  ;  for  these 
must  necessarily  be  commensurate  with  the  thing  with 
which  it  is  united.  And  when  we  become  aware  of  these  10 
*excellent*  effects,  then  we  may  say  with  truth,  that  we  have 
been  born  again.  For  our  first  birth  took  place  when  we 
were  united  with  the  body,  through  which  the  activities  and 
movements  of  the  [vital]  spirits  have  arisen  ;  but  this  our 
other  or  second  birth  will  take  place  when  we  become 
aware  in  us  of  entirely  different  effects  of  love,  commensu 
rate  with  the  knowledge  of  this  incorporeal  object,  and  as 
different  from  the  first  as  the  corporeal  is  different  from 
the  incorporeal,  spirit  from  flesh.  And  this  may,  therefore, 
all  the  more  justly  and  truly  be  called  Regeneration,  inas-  20 
much  as  only  from  this  love  and  union  does  Eternal  and 
unchangeable  existence  ensue,  as  we  shall  prove. 



IF  only  we  consider  attentively  what  the  Soul  is,  and  whence 
its  change  and  duration  originate,  then  we  shall  easily  see 
whether  it  is  mortal  or  immortal. 

Now  we  have  said  that  the  Soul  is  an  Idea  which  is  in 
the  thinking  thing,  arising  from  the  reality  of  a  thing  which 
exists  in  Nature.  Whence  it  follows  that  according  to  the 
duration  and  change  of  the  thing,  so  must  also  be  the 

10  duration  and  change  of  the  Soul.  We  remarked,  at  the 
same  time,  that  the  Soul  can  become  united  either  with  the 
body  of  which  it  is  the  Idea,  or  with  God,  without  whom  it 
can  neither  be,  nor  be  known. 

From  this,  then,  it  can  easily  be  seen,  (i)  that,  if  it  is 
united  with  the  body  alone,  and  that  body  happens  to 
perish,  then  it  must  perish  also  ;  for  when  it  is  deprived  of 
the  body,  which  is  the  foundation  of  its  love,  it  must  perish 
with  it.  But  (2)  if  it  becomes  united  with  some  other 
thing  which  is  and  remains  unchangeable,  then,  on  the 

20  contrary,  it  must  also  remain  unchangeable  *and  lasting.* 
For,  in  that  case,  through  what  shall  it  be  possible  for  it 
to  perish  ?  J  Not  through  itself  ;  for  as  little  as  it  could 
begin  to  exist  through  itself  when  it  did  not  yet  exist,  so 

I  B  concludes  this  chapter  as  follows  :  For  that  which  alone  is 
the  cause  of  the  existence  of  a  thing,  must  also,  when  it  is  about  to 
pass  away,  be  the  cause  of  its  non-existence,  simply  because  itself 
is  changing  or  passing  away ;  or  that  whereof  it  is  the  cause  must 
be  able  to  annihilate  itself;  but  as  little  as  a  thing  can  begin  to 
exist  through  itself  when  it  does  not  yet  exist,  so  little  also  can  it 
30  change  or  perish  through  itself,  now  that  it  does  exist. 



little  also  can  it  change  or  perish  *  through  itself,*  now  that 
it  does  exist. 

Consequently,  that  thing  which  alone  is  the  cause  of  its 
existence,  must  also  (when  it  is  about  to  perish)  be  the 
cause  of  its  non-existence,  because  it  happens  to  change 
itself  or  to  perish. 



THUS  far  we  have  shown  sufficiently,  we  think,  what  our 
love  of  God  is,  also  its  consequences,  namely,  our  eternal 
duration.  So  we  do  not  think  it  necessary  here  to  say  any 
thing  about  other  things,  such  as  joy  in  God,  peace  of 
mind,  &c.,  as  from  what  has  been  said  it  may  easily  be 
seen  what  there  is  to  or  should  be  said  about  them. 
Thus  (as  we  have,  so  far,  only  considered  our  love  of  God) 
10  it  still  remains  to  be  seen  whether  there  is  also  a  divine 
love  of  us,  that  is,  whether  God  also  loves  mankind, 
namely,  when  they  love  him.  Now,  in  the  first  place,  we 
have  said  that  to  God  no  modes  of  thought  can  be  ascribed 
except  those  which  are  in  his  creatures;  therefore,  it  cannot 
be  said  that  God  loves  mankind,  much  less  [can  it  be 
said]  that  he  should  love  them  because  they  love  him,  or 
hate  them  because  they  hate  him.  For  in  that  case  we 
should  have  to  suppose  that  people  do  so  of  their  own  free 
will,  and  that  they  do  not  depend  on  a  first  cause ;  which 
20  we  have  already  before  proved  to  be  false.  Besides,  this 
would  necessarily  involve  nothing  less  than  a  great  muta 
bility  on  the  part  of  God,  who,  though  he  neither  loved  nor 
hated  before,  would  now  have  to  begin  to  love  and  to 
hate,  and  would  be  *  induced  or  *  made  to  do  so  by  some 
thing  supposed  to  be  outside  him  ;  but  this  is  absurdity 

Still,  when   we  say  that  God  does  not  love  man,  this 
must   not   be  taken    to    mean  that   he  (so  to   say)  leaves 
man  to   pursue  his   course   all   alone,  but   only  that   be- 
so  cause    man  together  with  all  that  is,  are  in  God  in  such 


ON  GOD'S  LOVE  OF  MAN  139 

a  way,:f  and  God  consists  of  all  these  in  such  a  way,  therefore,  i 
properly  speaking,  there  can  be  in  him  no  love  for  something 
else  :  since  all  form  only  one  thing,  which  is  God  himself. 

From  this  it  follows  also  that  God  gives  no  laws  to  man 
kind  so  as  to  reward  them  when  they  fulfil  them  *[and  to 
punish  them  when  they  transgress  them,]*  or,  to  state  it 
more  clearly,  that  God's  laws  are  not  of  such  a  nature  that 
they  could  be  transgressed.  For  the  regulations  imposed 
by  God  on  Nature,  according  to  which  all  things  come  into 
existence  and  continue  to  exist,  these,  if  we  will  call  them  10 
laws,  are  such  that  they  can  never  be  transgressed  ;  such, 
for  instance,  is  [the  law]  that  the  weakest  must  yield  to  the 
strongest,  It  that  no  cause  can  produce  more  than  it  contains 
in  itself,  and  the  like,  which  are  of  such  a  kind  that  they 
never  change,  and  never  had  a  beginning,  but  all  things  are 
subjected  and  subordinated  to  them.  And,  to  say  briefly 
something  about  them  :  all  laws  that  cannot  be  transgressed, 
are  divine  laws  ;  the  reason  [is  this],  because  whatsoever 
happens,  is  not  contrary  to,  but  in  accordance  with,  his  own 
decision.  All  laws  that  can  be  transgressed  are  human  laws  ;  20 
the  reason  [is  this],  because  all  that  people  decide  upon  for 
their  own  well-being  does  not  necessarily,  on  that  account, 
tend  also  to  the  well-being  of  the  whole  of  Nature,  but  may,  on 
the  contrary,  tend  to  the  annihilation  of  many  other  things. 

When  the  laws  of  Nature  are  stronger,  the  laws  of  men 
are  made  null  ;  the  divine  laws  are  the  final  end  for  the 
sake  of  which  they  exist,  and  not  subordinate  ;  human 
[laws]  are  not.Jtt  Still,  HII  notwithstanding  the  fact  that 

t  B  continues  as  follows  :  that  God  thus  consists  of  them  only, 
therefore,  it  must  be  so  conceived  that,  properly  speaking  ...  30 

tt   B  :   the  weaker  must  yield  to  the  stronger. 

ttt  B  :  The  Divine  Laws  are  the  final  end  for  which  they  exist, 
and  are  not  subordinate  :  but  not  so  the  Human  Laws  \  for  when 
the  Laws  of  Nature  are  stronger  than  these  they  are  annihilated. 

tttt   A  :   For  ;  B  :   Still. 

140          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  men  make  laws  for  their  own  well-being,  and  have  no  other 
end  in  view  except  to  promote  their  own  well-being  by 
them,  this  end  of  theirs  may  yet  (in  so  far  as  it  is  subordinate 
to  other  ends  which  another  has  in  view,  who  is  above 
them,  and  lets  them  act  thus  as  parts  of  Nature)  serve  that 
end  [which]  coincides  with  the  eternal  I  laws  established 
by  God  from  eternity,  and  so,  together  with  all  others,  help 
to  accomplish  everything.  For  example,  although  the 
Bees,  in  all  their  work  and  the  orderly  discipline  which  they 

10  maintain  among  themselves,  have  no  other  end  in  view  than 
to  make  certain  provisions  *  for  themselves  *  for  the  winter, 
still,  man  who  is  above  them,  has  an  entirely  different  end 
in  view  when  he  maintains  and  tends  them,  namely,  to 
obtain  honey  for  himself.  So  also  [is  it  with]  man,  in  so 
far  as  he  is  an  individual  thing  and  looks  no  further  than 
his  finite  character  can  reach  ;  but,  in  so  far  as  he  is  also 
a  part  and  tool  of  the  whole  of  Nature,  this  end  of  man 
cannot  be  the  final  end  of  Nature,  because  she  is  infinite, 
and  must  make  use  of  him,  together  also  with  all  other 

20  things,  as  an  instrument. 

Thus  far  [we  have  been  speaking]  of  the  law  imposed  by 
God  ;  it  is  now  to  be  remarked  also  that  man  is  aware  of 
two  kinds  of  law  even  in  himself ;  tl  I  mean  such  a  man 
who  uses  his  understanding  aright,  and  attains  to  the  know 
ledge  of  God  ;  and  these  [two  kinds  of  law]  result  from  his 
fellowship  with  God,  and  from  his  fellowship  with  the 
modes  of  Nature.  Of  these  the  one  is  necessary,  and  the 
other  is  not.  For,  as  regards  the  law  which  results  from 
his  fellowship  with  God,  since  he  can  never  be  otherwise 

30  but  must  always  necessarily  be  united  with  him,  therefore 

t  B  :  beginningless. 

^J  B  continues:  i.  In  him  who  uses  his  understanding  aright 
and  attains  to  the  knowledge  of  God ;  these  result  from  his  fellow 
ship  with  God.  2.  Those  which  result  from  his  fellowship  with  the 
modes  of  Nature. 

ON  GOD'S  LOVE  OF  MAN  141 

he  has,  and  always  must  have  before  his  eyes  the  laws  by  i 
which  he  must  live  for  and  with  God.     But  as  regards  the 
law  which  results  from  his  fellowship  with  the  modes,  since 
he  can  separate  himself  from  men,  this  is  not  so  necessary. 

Now,  since  we  posit  such  a  fellowship  between  God  and 
men,  it  might  justly  be  asked,  how  God  can  make  himself 
known  to  men,  and  whether  this  happens,  or  could  have 
happened,  by  means  of  spoken  words,  or  directly  *through 
himself,*  without  using  any  other  thing  to  do  it  with. 

We  answer,!  not  by  means  of  words,  in  any  case  ;  for  10 
in  that  case  man  must  have  known  the  signification  of  the 
words  before  they  were  spoken  to  him.  For  example,  if 
God  had  said  to  the  Israelites,  /  am  Jehovah  your  God,  then 
they  would  have  had  to  know  first,  apart  from  these 
words,  that  God  existed, It  before  they  could  be  assured 
*  thereby  *  that  it  was  he  *  [who  was  speaking  to 
them].*  For  they  already  knew  quite  well  then  that  the 
voice,  thunder  and  lightning  were  not  God,  although  the 
voice  proclaimed  that  it  was  God.  And  the  same  that  we 
say  here  about  words,  we  also  mean  to  hold  good  of  all  20 
external  signs. 

We  consider  it,  therefore,  impossible  that  God  should 
make  himself  known  to  men  by  means  of  external 

And  we  consider  it  to  be  unnecessary  that  it  should 
happen  through  any  other  thing  than  the  mere  essence  of 

t  B  :  To  this  we  answer  that  such  [a  thing]  can  never  happen 
by  means  of  words  ;  for,  in  that  case,  man  would  have  had  to  know 
the  signification  of  the  words  before  the  outward  communication 
was  made  to  him  through  them.     When,  for  example,  God  said  to   30 
the  Israelites,  .   .  . 

tt  A  :  dat  hy  God  was  [that  he  was  God] ;  B  :  dat  God  was 
[that  God  existed]. 

ttt  B  continues  :  this  self-revelation  must  therefore  take  place 
solely  through  the  essence  of  God  and  the  understanding  of  man  ; 
for  ... 


142          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  God  and  the  understanding  of  man  ;  for,  as  the  Under 
standing  is  that  in  us  which  must  know  God,  and  as  it  stands 
in  such  immediate  union  with  him  that  it  can  neither  be,  nor 
be  understood  without  him,  it  is  incontrovertibly  evident 
from  this  that  no  thing  can  ever  come  into  such  close  touch 
with  the  Understanding  as  God  himself  can.  It  is  also  impos 
sible  to  get  to  know  God  through  something  else.  i.  Be 
cause,  in  that  case,  such  a  thing  would  have  to  be  better 
known  to  us  than  God  himself,  which  is  in  open  conflict 

10  with  all  that  we  have  hitherto  clearly  shown,  namely,  that 
God  is  a  cause  both  of  our  knowledge  and  of  all  essence, 
and  that  without  him  all  individual  things  not  only  cannot 
exist,  but  cannot  even  be  understood.  2.  Because  we  can 
never  attain  to  the  knowledge  of  God  through  any  other 
thing,  the  nature  of  which  is  necessarily  finite,  even  if  it 
were  far  better  known  to  us  ;  for  how  is  it  possible  that  we 
should  infer  an  infinite  and  limitless  thing  from  a  *  finite 
and  *  limited  thing  ?  For  even  if  we  did  observe  some 
effects  or  work  in  Nature  the  cause  of  which  was  unknown 

20  to  us,  still  it  would  be  impossible  for  us  to  conclude  from 
this  that  there  must  be  in  Nature  an  infinite  and  limitless 
thing  in  order  to  produce  this  result.  For  how  can  we 
know  whether  many  causes  have  concurred  in  order  to 
produce  this,  or  whether  there  was  only  one  ?  Who  is  to 
tell  us  ? 

We  therefore  conclude,  finally,  that,  in  order  to  make 
himself  known  to  men,  God  can  and  need  use  neither 
words,  nor  miracles,  nor  any  other  created  thing,  but  only 



WE  shall  now  briefly  say  something  about  devils,  whether 
they  exist  or  do  not  exist,  and  it  is  this  : 

If  the  Devil  is  a  thing  that  is  once  for  all  opposed  to  God, 
and  has  absolutely  nothing  from  God,  then  he  is  precisely  iden 
tical  with  Nothing,  which  we  have  already  discussed  before. 

If,  with  some,  we  represent  him  as  a  thinking  thing  that 
absolutely  neither  wills  nor  does  any  good,  and  so  sets  him 
self,  once  for  all,  in  opposition  to  God,  then  surely  he  is  10 
very  wretched,  and,  if  prayers  could  help,  then  one  ought 
to  pray  for  his  conversion. 

But  let  us  just  see  whether  such  a  wretched  thing  could 
even  exist  for  a  single  moment.  And,  if  we  do  so,  we  shall 
immediately  find  out  that  it  cannot ;  for  whatever  duration 
a  thing  has  results  entirely  from  the  perfection  of  the  thing, 
and  the  more  essence  and  godliness  things  possess,  the 
more  lasting  are  they  :  therefore,  as  the  Devil  has  not  the 
least  perfection  in  him,  how  should  he  then,  I  think  to 
myself,  be  able  to  exist  ?  Add  to  this,  that  the  persistence  20 
or  duration  of  a  mode  of  the  thinking  thing  only  results  from 
the  union  in  which  such  a  mode  is,  through  love,  joined  to 
God.  As  the  precise  opposite  of  this  union  is  supposed  in 
the  case  of  the  Devils,  they  cannot  possibly  exist.! 

As,  however,  there  is  no  necessity  whatever  why  we 
should  posit  the  existence  of  Devils,  why  then  should  they 
be  posited  ?  For  we  need  not,  like  others,  posit  Devils  in 
order  to  find  [in  them]  the  cause  of  Hatred,  Envy,  Wrath, 
and  such-like  passions,  since  we  have  found  this  sufficiently, 
without  such  fictions.  30 

t  A  :  not  exist. 



BY  the  assertion  of  what  precedes  £  we  not  only  wanted  to 
make  known  that  there  are  no  Devils,  but  also,  indeed,  that 
the  causes  (or,  to  express  it  better,  what  we  call  Sins)  which 
hinder  us  in  the  attainment  of  our  perfection  are  in  our 
selves.  We  have  also  shown  already,  in  what  precedes, 
how  and  in  what  manner,  through  reason  as  also  tt  through 
the  fourth  kind  of  knowledge,  we  must  attain  to  our  blessed- 

10  ness,  and  how  the  passions  *  which  are  bad  and  should  be 
banished  *  must  be  done  away  with  :  not  as  is  commonly 
urged,  namely,  that  these  [passions]  must  first  be  subdued 
before  we  can  attain  to  the  knowledge,  and  consequently  to 
the  love,  of  God.  That  would  be  just  like  insisting  that  some 
one  who  is  ignorant  must  first  forsake  his  ignorance  before 
he  can  attain  to  knowledge. ttt  But  [the  truth  is]  this, 
that  only  knowledge  can  cause  the  disappearance  thereof — 
as  is  evident  from  all  that  we  have  said.  Similarly,  it  may 
also  be  clearly  gathered  from  the  above  that  without  Virtue, 

20  or  (to  express  it  better)  without  the  guidance  of  the  Under 
standing,  all  tends  to  ruin,  so  that  we  can  enjoy  no  rest, 
and  we  live,  as  it  were,  outside  our  element.  So  that  even 
if  from  the  power  of  knowledge  and  divine  love  there 
accrued  to  the  understanding  not  an  eternal  rest,  such  as 
we  have  shown,  but  only  a  temporary  one,  it  is  our  duty  to 

t  B  :  of  the  preceding  chapter. 
JJ  B  omits  these  four  words. 

ttJ  B  continues  thus  :  but  just  as  knowledge  alone  can  cause  the 
annihilation  of  this  (as  is  evident  from  all  that  we  have  said)  so  it 
30  may  likewise  be  clearly  gathered  from  the  above  .  .  . 



seek  even  this,  since  this  also  is  such  that  if  once  we  taste  i 
it  we  would  exchange  it  for  nothing  else  in  the  world. 

This  being  so,  we  may,  with  reason,  regard  as  a  great 
absurdity  what  many,  who  are  otherwise  esteemed  as  great 
theologians,  assert,  namely,  that  if  no  eternal  life  resulted 
from  the  love  of  God,  then  t  they  would  seek  what  is  best 
for  themselves  :  as  though  they  could  discover  anything 
better  than  God  !  This  is  just  as  silly  as  if  a  fish  (for 
which,  of  course,  it  is  impossible  to  live  out  of  the  water) 
were  to  say  :  if  no  eternal  life  is  to  follow  this  life  in  the  10 
water,  then  I  will  leave  the  water  for  the  land  ;  It  what  else, 
indeed,  can  they  say  to  us  who  do  not  know  God  ? 

Thus  we  see,  therefore,  that  in  order  to  arrive  at  the 
truth  of  what  we  assert  for  sure  concerning  our  happiness 
and  repose,  we  require  no  other  principles  except  only  this, 
namely,  to  take  to  heart  our  own  interest,  which  is  very 
natural  in  all  things. ttt  And  since  we  find  that,  when  we 
pursue  sensuousness,  pleasures,  and  worldly  things,  we  do 
not  find  our  happiness  in  them,  but,  on  the  contrary,  our 
ruin,  we  therefore  choose  the  guidance  of  our  understanding.  20 
As,  however,  this  can  make  no  progress,  unless  it  has  first 
attained  to  the  knowledge  and  love  of  God,  therefore  it  was 
highly  necessary  to  seek  this  (God)  ;  and  as  (after  the  fore 
going  reflections  and  considerations)  we  have  discovered 
that  he  is  the  best  good  of  all  that  is  good,  we  are  compelled 
to  stop  and  to  rest  here.  For  we  have  seen  that,  outside 
him,  there  is  nothing  that  can  give  us  any  happiness.  And 
it  is  a  true  freedom  to  be,  and  to  remain,  bound  with  the 
loving  chains  of  his  love. 

Lastly,  we  see  also  that  reasoning  is  not  the  principal  3° 
thing  in  us,  but  only  like  a  staircase  by  which  we  can  climb 

£  B  continues  thus  :  people  would  seek  and  consider  pleasures 
of  sense,  merriment,  and  worldly  enjoyments  :  as  though  .  .  . 

It  B  continues:  so  it  is  also  with  the  foregoing  ;  for,  what  else,  .  .  . 
B  omits  this  sentence. 

146          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  up  to  the  desired  place,  or  like  a  good  genius  which,  with 
out  any  falsity  or  deception,  brings  us  tidings  of  the 
highest  good  in  order  thereby  to  stimulate  us  to  pursue  it, 
and  to  become  united  with  it ;  which  union  is  our  supreme 
happiness  and  bliss. 

So,  to   bring   this  work  to  a  conclusion,  it  remains  to 

indicate   briefly  what   human  freedom  is,  and  wherein  it 

consists.      For   this   purpose    I    shall   make   use   of   these 

following   propositions,  as   things  which   are   certain   and 

10  demonstrated. 

i.  The  more  essence  a  thing  has,  so  much  more  has  it 
also  of  activity,  and  so  much  less  of  passivity.  For  it 
is  certain  that  what  is  active  acts  through  what  it  has, 
and  that  the  thing  which  is  passive  is  affected  through  what 
it  has  not. 

2.  All  passivity  that  passes  from  non-being  to  being,  or 
from  being  to  non-being,  must  result  from  some  external 
agent,  and  not  from  an  inner  one  :  because  no  thing,  con 
sidered  by  itself,  contains  in  itself  the  conditions  that  will 

20  enable  it  to  annihilate  itself  when  it  exists,  or  to  create 
itself  when  it  does  not  exist. 

3.  Whatever  is  not  produced  by  external  causes  can  have 
nothing  in  common  with  them,  and  can,  consequently,  be 
neither  changed  nor  transformed  by  them. 

And  from  these  last  two  [propositions]  I  infer  the  follow 
ing  fourth  proposition  : 

4.  The  effect  of  an  immanent  or  inner  cause  (which  is  all 
one  to  me)  cannot  possibly  pass  away  or  change  so  long  as 
this   cause  of  it  remains.     For   such  an  effect,   just  as  it 

30  is  not  produced  by  external  causes,  so  also  it  cannot  be 
changed  [by  them]  ;  following  the  third  proposition.  And 
since  no  thing  whatever  can  come  to  naught  except  through 
external  causes,  it  is  not  possible  that  this  effect  should  be 
liable  to  perish  so  long  as  its  cause  endures ;  following  the 
second  proposition. 


5.  The  freest  cause  of  all,  and  that  which  is  most  appro-  i 
priate  to  God,  is  the  immanent :  for  the  effect  of  this  cause 
depends  on  it  in  such  a  way  that  it  can  neither  be,  nor  be 
understood  without  it,  nor  is  it  subjected  to  any  other  cause  ; 
it  is,  moreover,  united  with  it  in  such  a  way  that  together 
they  form  one  whole. 

Now  let  us  just  see  what  we  must    conclude  from  the 
above  propositions.     In  the  first  place,  then, 

1.  Since  the  essence  of  God  is  infinite,  therefore  it  has 
an  infinite  activity,  and  an  infinite  negation  of  passivity,  10 
following  the  first  proposition  ;  and,  in  consequence  of  this, 
the  more  that,  through  their  greater   essence,  things  are 
united  with  God,  so  much  the  more  also   do  they  have  of 
activity,  and  the  less  of  passivity  :  and  so  much  the  more 
also  *are  they*  free  from  change  and  corruption. 

2.  The  true  Understanding  can  never  perish  ;  for  in  itself 
it  can  have  no  cause  to  destroy  itself,  following  the  second 
proposition.      And   as   it   did  not   emanate   from   external 
causes,  but  from  God,  so  it  is  not  susceptible  to  any  change 
through  them,  following  the  third  proposition.     And  since  20 
God  has  produced  it  immediately  and  he  is  only  t  an  inner 
cause,  it  follows  necessarily  that  it  cannot  perish  so  long 

as  this  cause  of  it  remains,  following  the  fourth  proposition. 
Now  this  cause  of  it  is  eternal,  therefore  it  is  too. 

3.  All  the  effects  of  the  *true*  understanding,  which  are 
united  with  it,  are  the  most  excellent,  and  must  be  valued 
above  all  the  others  ;  for  as  they  are  inner  effects,  they  must 
be  the  most  excellent  ;  following  the  fifth  proposition  ;  and, 
besides  this,  they  are  also  necessarily  eternal,  because  their 
cause  is  such.  30 

4.  All  the  effects  which  we  produce  outside  ourselves  are 
the  more  perfect,  the  more  they  are  capable  of  becoming 
united  with  us,  so  as  to  constitute  one  and  the  same  nature 
with    us  ;    for   in    this  way  they   come    nearest    to    inner 

J  A :  is  not  only. 

148          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  effects.  For  example,  if  I  teach  my  neighbours  to  love 
pleasure,  glory,  avarice,  then  whether  I  myself  also  love 
these  or  do  not  love  them,  whatever  the  case  may  be,  I 
deserve  to  be  punished,  this  is  clear.  Not  so,  however,  when 
the  only  end  that  I  endeavour  to  attain  is,  to  be  able  to  taste 
of  union  with  God,  and  to  bring  forth  true  ideas,  and  to  make 
these  things  known  also  to  my  neighbours  ;  for  we  can  all 
participate  equally  in  this  happiness,  as  happens  when  it 
creates  in  them  J  the  same  desire  that  I  have,  thus  causing 
10  their  Jt  will  and  mine  to  be  one  and  the  same,  constituting 
one  and  the  same  nature,  agreeing  always  in  all  things.Jtt 

From  all  that  has  been  said  it  may  now  be  very  easily 
conceived  what  is  human  freedom,!  which  I  define  to  be 
this  :  it  is,  namely,  a  firm  reality  which  our  understanding 

t  A:  him.  tt  A:  his. 

HI  Instead  of  the  three  preceding  paragraphs,  B  has  the 
following : 

2.  As  (according  to  Proposition  II.)  no  thing  can  be  a  cause  of 
its  own  annihilation,  nor,  if  it  is  not  the  effect  of  any  external  cause, 

20  can  it  (according  to  Proposition  III.)  be  changed  by  such,  but 
(according  to  Proposition  IV.)  the  effect  of  an  inner  cause  can 
neither  pass  away,  nor  change  so  long  as  this  cause  thereof  endures  ; 
it  follows  that  the  true  understanding,  since  it  is  produced  by  no 
external  cause,  but  immediately  by  God,  is,  through  this  cause, 
eternal  and  immutable,  can  neither  perish  nor  change,  but,  with  it, 
necessarily  remains  eternal  and  lasting. 

3.  Since  the  inner  effects  of  an  immanent  cause  (according  to 
Proposition  V.)  are  the  most  excellent  of  all,  all  the  effects  of  the 
true  understanding  which  are  united  therewith,  must  also  be  valued 

3°  above  all  others,  and  [must]  necessarily  be  eternal  with  their  cause. 
Whence  it  follows  that 

4.  The  more  perfect  the  effects  are  which  we  produce  outside  us, 
the  more  capable  are  they  of  becoming  united  with  us  so  as  to 
constitute  one  and  the   same  nature  with   us.     It  is  thus  when, 

f  The  servitude  of  a  thing  consists  in  being  subjected  to 
external  causes,  freedom,  on  the  contrary,  in  not  being  subjected 
to  them,  but  freed  from  them. 


acquires  through  direct  union  with  God,  so  that  it  can  bring  i 
forth  ideas  in  itself,  and  effects  outside  itself,  in  complete 
harmony  with  its  nature  ;  without,  however,  its  effects  being 
subjected  to  any  external  causes,  so  as  to  be  capable  of 
being  changed  or  transformed  by  them.  Thus  it  is,  at 
the  same  time,  evident  from  what  has  been  said,  what 
things  there  are  that  are  in  our  power,  and  are  not  sub 
jected  to  any  external  causes  ;  we  have  likewise  also  proved 
here,  and  that  in  a  different  way  from  before,  the  eternal 
and  lasting  duration  of  our  understanding ;  and,  lastly,  10 
which  effects  it  is  that  we  have  to  value  above  all  others. 

So,!  to  make  an  end  of  all  this,  it  only  remains  for  me 
still  to  say  to  my  friends  to  whom  I  write  this  :tt  Be  not 
astonished  at  these  novelties  ;  for  it  is  very  well  known  to 
you  that  a  thing  does  not  therefore  cease  to  be  true  because 
it  is  not  accepted  by  many.  And  also,  as  the  character  of 
the  age  in  which  we  live  is  not  unknown  to  you,  I  would 
beg  of  you  most  earnestly  to  be  very  careful  about  the  com 
munication  of  these  things  to  others.  I  do  not  want  to  say 
that  you  should  absolutely  keep  them  to  yourselves,  but  only  20 
that  if  ever  you  tU  begin  to  communicate  them  to  anybody, 

through  my  union  with  God,  I  conceive  true  ideas,  and  make  them 
known  to  my  neighbours,  so  that  they  may  likewise  participate  with 
me  in  this  happiness,  and  so  that  there  arises  in  them  a  desire  like 
mine,  making  their  will  one  and  the  same  with  mine,  so  that  we 
thus  constitute  one  and  the  same  nature,  agreeing  in  all  things. 

I  In  the  margin  of  this  paragraph  A  has  the  following  note  : 
the  author's  entreaty  to  those  for  whom,  at  their  request,  he  had 
dictated  this  treatise,  and  therewith  the  conclusion  of  all. 

It  B  continues  :  that  they  should  not    be    astonished    at    the  30 
novelties  (which  they  might  find  here) ;  since  a    thing  does  not 
therefore  cease  to  be  true  when  it  is  not  accepted  by  many. 

ttt  B  continues :  wish  to  communicate  them  to  others,  then 
you  shall  have  no  other  object  in  view  except  only  the  Happiness 
of  your  neighbour  ;  being  at  the  same  time  clearly  assured  that  the 
reward  of  your  labour  will  not  disappoint  you  therein. 

150          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

1  then  let  no  other  aim  prompt  you  except  only  the  happiness 
of  your  neighbour,  being  at  the  same  time  clearly  assured 
by  him  that  the  reward  will  not  disappoint  your  labour. 
Lastly,  if,  on  reading  this  through,  you  should  meet  with 
some  difficulty  about  what  I  state  as  certain,  I  beseech  you 
that  you  should  not  therefore  hasten  at  once  to  refute  it, 
before  you  have  pondered  it  long  enough  and  thoughtfully 
enough,  and  if  you  do  this  I  feel  sure  that  you  will  attain  to 
the}:  enjoyment  of  the  fruits  of  this  tree  which  you  promise 
10  yourselves. 

J  B  concludes  :  desired  END. 




*ON  GOD* 


1.  Substance  is,  by  its  nature,  prior  to  ail  its  modifications. 

2.  Things  which  are  different   are   distinguished  either 
realiter  or  modaliter. 

3.  Things  which   are  distinguished   realiter  either   have 
different  attributes,  such  as  Thought  and  Extension,  or  are 
referred  to  different  attributes,  as  in  the   case  of  Under 
standing  and  Motion  ;  one  of  which  belongs  to  Thought,  10 
and  the  other  to  Extension. 

4.  Things  which  have   different   attributes,  as   also   the 
things  which   belong  to  different  attributes,  do  not  have 
anything  the  one  of  the  other. 

5.  That  which  has  not  in  itself  something  of  another  thing, 
can  also  not  be  a  cause  of  the  existence  of  such  another  thing. 

6.  It  is  impossible  that  that  which  is   a  cause  of  itself 
should  have  limited  itself. 

7.  That  by  which  the  things  are  sustained  is  by  its  nature 
prior  to  t  such  things.  20 


To  no  substance  that  exists  can  one  and  the  same  attri 
bute  be  ascribed  that  is  ascribed  to  another  substance ;  or 
(which  is  the  same)  in  Nature  there  cannot  be  two  sub 
stances,  unless  they  are  distinguished 

I  A  :  the  first  (prior)  in  ;  B :  prior  to. 

Jt  B  :  ...  in  Nature  there  cannot  be  posited  two  substances 
of  one  and  the  same  nature. 


154          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 


If  there  are  two  substances,  then  they  are  distinct  ;  and 
consequently  (Axiom  2)  £  they  are  distinguished  either 
realiter  or  modaliter ;  not  modaliter,  for  in  that  case  the 
modes  would  by  their  nature  be  prior  to  the  substance, 
which  is  contrary  to  the  first  axiom  ;  therefore,  realiter  ;  and 
consequently,  what  is  predicated  of  the  one  cannot  be 
predicated  of  the  other,  which  is  what  we  intended  to 


One  substance  cannot  be  the  cause  of  the  existence  of 
another  substance. 


Such  a  cause  ;annot  contain  in  itself  anything  of  such 
an  effect  (Prop,  i)  ;  because  the  difference  between  them  is 
real,  and  therefore  it  cannot  (Axiom  5)  produce  it.JJ 


Every  attribute  or  substance  ttt  is  by  nature  infinite,  and 
supremely  perfect  in  its  kind. 

20  PROOF 

No  substance  is  produced  by  another  (Prop.  2)  and  conse 
quently,  if  it  exists,  it  is  either  an  attribute  of  God,  or  it  has 
been  its  own  cause  outside  God.  If  the  first,  then  it  is 
necessarily  infinite,  and  supremely  perfect  in  its  kind,  such 

t  A  gives  the  references  to  Axioms  and  Propositions  in  the 
margin  ;  B,  in  the  text. 

JJ  A  adds :  (existence) ;  B :  .  .  .  and  therefore  the  one  cannot 
produce  the  other. 

HI  A  :  all  attributes  or  substance  ;  B :  all  substance  or  its  attri- 
3o  butes. 


as  are  all  other  attributes  of  God.  If  the  second,  then  it  is 
also  necessarily  such  because  (Axiom  6)  it  could  not  have 
limited  itself. 


To  such  an  extent  does  existence  pertain  by  nature  to 
the  essence  of  every  substance,!  that  it  is  impossible  to 
posit  in  an  infinite  understanding  the  Idea  of  the  essence  of 
a  substance  that  does  not  exist  in  Nature. 


The  true  essence  of  an  object  Jt  is  something  which  is  10 
realiter  different  from  the  Idea  of  the  same  object  ;  and  this 
something  exists  (Axiom  3)  either  realiter,  or  is  contained  in 
some  other  thing  which  exists  realiter ;  from  which  other 
thing  this  essence  cannot  be  distinguished  realiter,  but 
only  modaliter  ;  such  are  all  the  essences  of  the  things  ttt 
which  we  see,  which  before  they  yet  existed  were  already 
contained  in  extension,  motion,  and  rest,  and  when  they  do 
exist  are  not  distinguished  from  extension  realiter }  but  only 
modaliter.  Moreover,  it  would  involve  self-contradiction  to 
suppose  that  the  essence  of  a  substance  tttt  is  contained  thus  20 
in  some  other  thing  ;  because  in  that  case  it  could  not  be 
distinguished  from  this  realiter,  contrary  to  the  first  proposi 
tion  ;  also,  it  could  in  that  case  be  produced  by  the  subject 
which  contains  it,  contrary  to  the  second  proposition  ;  and 
lastly,  it  could  not  by  its  nature  be  infinite  and  supremely 
perfect  in  its  kind,  contrary  to  the  third  proposition. 

t  A  :   to  every  essence  of  substance  ;   B  :  to  the  essence  of  a 

t  J  B :  .  .  .  of  the  object  of  an  idea. 

B  :  essences  or  things.  30 

A:  that  an  essence  of  the  substance;  B:  that  an  essence 
of  substance. 

156          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

Therefore,  as   its  essence  is   not  contained   in  any  other 
thing,  it  must  be  a  thing  that  exists  through  itself. 


Nature  is  known  through  itself,  and  not  through  any 
other  thing.  It  consists  of  infinite  attributes  every  one  of 
them  infinite  and  perfect  in  its  kind  ;  to  its  essence  pertains 
existence,  so  that  outside  it  there  is  no  other  essence  or 
existence,  and  it  thus  coincides  exactly  with  the  essence  of 
God  who  alone  is  glorious  and  blessed. 


As  man  is  a  created  finite  thing,  &c.,  it  necessarily  follows 
that  what  he  has  of  Thought,  and  what  we  call  the  Soul,  is 
a  mode  £  of  the  attribute  which  we  call  Thought,  and  that 
nothing  else  except  this  mode  belongs  to  his  essence  :  so 
much  so  that  when  this  mode  comes  to  naught,  the  soul 
perishes  also,  although  the  above  attribute  remains  un 
changed.  Similarly  as  regards  Jt  what  he  has  of  Extension  ; 
what  we  call  Body  is  nothing  else  than  a  mode  of  the  other  10 
attribute  which  we  call  Extension  ;  when  this  is  destroyed, 
the  human  body  also  ceases  to  be,  although  the  attribute 
Extension  remains  unchanged. 

Now  in  order  to  understand  what  this  mode  is,  which  we 
call  Soul,  and  how  it  derives  its  origin  from  the  body,  and 
also  how  its  change  (only)  depends  on  the  body  (which  to  me 
constitutes  the  union  of  soul  and  body),  it  must  be  observed  : 

I.  That  the  most  immediate  mode  of  the  attribute  which 
we  call  thought  contains  objective  the  formal  essence  of  all 
things  ;  so  much  so,  that  if  one  could  posit  a  real  thing  20 
whose  essence  was  not  objective  in  the  above-named  attri 
bute,  then  this  would  not  be  infinite,  nor  supremely  perfect 
in  its  kind  ;  contrary  to  what  has  already  been  proved  in 
the  third  proposition.  And  since,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  Nature 
or  God  is  one  being  of  which  infinite  attributes  are  predi 
cated,  and  which  contains  in  itself  all  the  essences  of  created 
things,  it  necessarily  follows  that  of  all  this  there  is  produced 

J  A  :  an  attribute  :     B  :  a  mode. 

tl  B  omits  "  as  regards,"  and  inserts  "  and  "  after  "  Extension." 

157  L 

158          GOD;  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

in  Thought  an  infinite  Idea,  t  which  comprehends  objective 
the  whole  of  Nature  just  as  it  is  realiter. 

2.  It  is  to  be  observed  that  all  the  remaining  modes,  such 
as  Love,  Desire,  Joy,  *&c.,*  derive  their  origin  from  this 
first  immediate  mode  ;  and  that,  too,  in  such  wise,  that  if  it 
did  not  precede,  then  there  could  be  no  love,  desire,  *  nor 
joy,*  &c.  Whence  it  clearly  follows  that  the  natural  love 
which  prompts  everything  to  preserve  its  body  (I  mean  the 
mode)  It  cannot  have  any  other  origin  than  in  the  Idea 

10  or  the  "  objective "  essence  of  such  body  which  is  in  the 
thinking  attribute.  Further,  since  for  the  real  existence  of 
an  Idea  (or  "  objective  "  essence)  no  other  thing  is  required 
than  the  thinking  attribute  and  the  object  (or  " formal" 
essence),  it  is  certain,  as  we  have  said,  that  the  Idea,  or  the 
"objective"  essence,  is  the  most  immediate  t  mode  of  the 
*  thinking  *  attribute.  And,  consequently,  there  can  be  in 
the  thinking  attribute  no  other  mode,  that  should  belong  to 
the  essence  of  the  soul  of  every  ttt  thing,  except  only  the 
Idea,  which  must  be  in  the  thinking  attribute  when  its 

20  object  exists  :  for  such  an  idea  brings  with  it  the  remaining 
modes  of  Love,  Desire,  *  joy,*  &c.  Now  as  the  Idea  comes 
from  the  existence  of  the  object,  therefore  according  as  the 
object  changes  or  perishes,  so  its  Idea  must  change  or 
perish,  and  such  being  the  case,  it  is  that  which  is  united 
with  the  object.  tttt 

t  I  call  that  mode  the  most  immediate  mode,  which,  in  order  to 
exist,  requires  no  other  mode  in  the  same  attribute. 

J  A  :  it  necessarily  follows  that  of  all  that  which  is  produced  in 
Thought  there  is  an  infinite  Idea  .  .  .  ;  B :  .  .  .  that  there  is 
30  produced  in  thought  an  infinite  idea  thereof  .  .  . 

It  B  omits  the  words  in  brackets. 

til  A  :  gelijken  [like]  ;  B  :  iegelijk'n  [every]. 

Hit  B  :  .  .  .  so  this  idea  of  it  must  change  or  perish  in  the  same 
degree  or  measure  of  change  or  annihilation,  because  it  is  thus- 
united  with  the  object. 


Lastly,  if  we  should  want  to  proceed  and  ascribe  to  the  i 
essence  of  the  soul  that  through  which  it  can  be  real,  we  shall 
be  able  to  find  nothing  else  than  the  attribute  [Thought]  and 
the  object  of  which  we  have  just  been  speaking  ;  and  neither 
of  these  can  belong  to  the  essence  of  the  Soul,  as  the  object 
has  nothing  of  Thought,  and  is  realiter  different  from  the 
Soul.  !  And  with  regard  to  the  attribute,  we  have  also 
proved  already  that  it  cannot  pertain  to  the  above-mentioned 
essence,  as  appears  even  more  clearly  from  what  we  said 
subsequently;  II  for  the  attribute  as  attribute  IK  is  not  10 
united  with  the  object,  since  it  neither  changes  nor  perishes, 
although  the  object  changes  or  perishes. 

Therefore  the  essence  of  the  soul  consists  in  this  alone, 
namely,  in  the  existence  of  an  Idea  or  "  objective  "  essence 
in  the  thinking  attribute,  arising  from  the  essence  of  an 
object  which  in  fact  exists  in  Nature.  I  say,  of  an  object 
which  in  fact  exists,  6-c.,  without  more  particulars,  so  as  to 
include  under  this  not  only  the  modes  of  extension,  but  also 
the  modes  of  all  the  infinite  attributes,  which  have  also 
each  its  soul,  just  as  in  the  case  of  extension.  And  in  order  20 
that  this  definition  may  be  somewhat  more  fully  understood, 
it  should  be  borne  in  mind  what  I  have  already  said  when 
speaking  about  the  attributes,  which,  I  said,  are  not  different 
as  regards  their  existence,tltt  for  they  are  themselves  the 
"  subjects  "  of  their  essences  ;  also  that  the  essence  of  every 
one  of  the  modes  is  contained  in  the  above-named  attributes, 
*  and,  lastly,  that  all  the  attributes  are  attributes  *  of  One 
infinite  Being.  Wherefore  also,  in  the  ninth  chapter  of  the 
First  Part,  I  called  this  Idea  a  creation  created  immediately  by 
God  ;  since  it  contains  objective  the  "  formal  "  essence  of  all  30 

!  B  :    as   the   object   of   Thought    has    nothing  thereof,   but  is 
realiter  different  from  it. 

!!  B  :  as  will  be  seen  trom  what  we  shall  say  later. 

!!!   B  omits  "as  attribute." 

!!!!  B  omits  the  nine  words  that  follow. 

160          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

1  things,  I  without  omission  or  addition.  And  this  is  neces 
sarily  but  one,  considering  that  all  the  essences  of  the 
attributes,  and  the  essences  of  the  modes  comprehended 
in  these  attributes,  are  the  essence  of  one  only  infinite 
being,  II  But  it  has  still  to  be  remarked  that  these  modes, 
now  under  consideration,  [even  when]  none  of  them  exists, 
are  nevertheless  equally  comprehended  in  their  attributes  ; 
and  as  there  is  no  inequality  whatever  in  the  attributes,  nor 
yet  in  the  essences  of  the  modes,  there  can  be  no  particu- 

10  larity  in  the  idea  when  there  is  none  in  Nature.  But  as 
soon  as  ever  some  of  these  modes  take  on  their  particular 
existence,  and  thereby  become  in  some  way  different 
from  their  attributes  (because  then  their  particular 
existence,  which  they  have  in  the  attribute,  is  the  "sub 
ject"  of  their  essence),  then  there  shows  itself  a  particu 
larity  in  the  essences  of  the  modes,  and  consequently  in 
the  "  objective  "  essences  of  these  which  are  necessarily 
comprehended  in  the  Idea,  HI  And  this  is  the  reason  why 
we  said,  in  the  definition,  that  the  Idea  llll  arises  from 

20  an  object,  Hill  which  really  exists  in  Nature.  And  with  this 
we  think  we  have  sufficiently  explained  what  kind  of  a 
thing  the  soul  is  in  general,  understanding  by  this  expres 
sion  not  only  the  Ideas  which  arise  from  *the  existence 
of*  corporeal  modes,  but  also  those  which  arise  from  the 
existence  of  every  mode  of  the  remaining  attributes. 

I  B  :  .  .  .  I  called  the  thinking  attribute,  or  the  understand 
ing  in  the  thinking  thing,  a  son,  product,  or  creation  created 
immediately  by  God,  since  it  contains  the  "  objective  "  essence  of 
all  things  .  .  . 

30  H  B  omits  this  sentence,  and  continues :  For  it  has  to  be 
remarked  .  .  . 

HI  B  :   in  the  Thinking  Attribute. 

Hll  B  :  the  soul,  the  idea,  or  objective  essence  in  the  thinking 
attribute  (which  is  all  one  to  me)  arises  .  .  . 

lllll  B  :  from  the  essence  of  an  object   .   .  . 


But,  since  we  have  no  such  knowledge  of  the  remaining  i 
attributes  as  we  have  of  extension,  let  us  just  see  whether, 
having  regard  to  the  modes  of  extension,  we  can  discover  a 
more  special  definition,  and  one  that  shall  be  more  appro 
priate  to  express  the  essence  of  our  souls,  for  this  is  the 
real  task  before  us.  Now  we  shall  presuppose  here,  as 
something  already  demonstrated,  that  extension  contains  no 
other  modes  than  motion  and  rest,  and  that  every  particular 
material  thing  is  nothing  else  than  a  certain  proportion  of 
motion  and  rest,  so  much  so  indeed  that,  even  if  extension  10 
contained  nothing  else  except  motion  only  or  rest  only,  then 
no  particular  thing  could  be  shown  or  exist  in  the  whole  of 
extension;  the  human  body,  therefore,  is  nothing  else  than 
a  certain  proportion  of  motion  and  rest.  Now  the  "  ob 
jective  essence  "  of  this  actual  ratio  *  of  motion  and  rest  * 
which  is  in  the  thinking  attribute,  this  (we  say)  is  the  soul 
of  the  body  ;  so  that  whenever  one  of  these  two  modes 
changes  into  more  or  less  (motion  or  rest)  I  the  Idea 
*  or  the  soul  *  also  changes  accordingly.  For  example,  when 
the  [amount  of]  rest  happens  to  increase,  while  the  [quantity  20 
of]  motion  is  diminished,  then  there  is  produced  thereby 
that  pain  or  sorrow  which  we  call  cold;  but  if,  on  the 
contrary,  this  [increase]  takes  place  in  the  [amount  of] 
motion,  then  there  is  produced  thereby  that  pain  which  we 
call  heat.  It  And  so  when  it  happens  that  the  degrees  of 
motion  and  rest  are  not  equal  in  all  the  parts  of  our  body, 
but  that  some  have  more  motion  and  rest  than  others,  there 

I  B  :  whenever  one  01  these  two  modes,  be  it  motion  or  rest, 
changes  into  more  or  less   .   .  . 

II  B  continues  as  follows  :  But  if  the  proportion  of  motion  and    30 
rest  is  not  the  same  in  all  the  parts  of  our  body,  but  some  of  them 
are  provided  with  more  motion  or  rest  than  the  others,  there  arises 
thence  a  difference  of  feeling  :   such  as  we  experience  when  we  are 
struck  with  a  cane  in  the  eyes  or  on  the  hands.     Moreover,  when 
the  external  causes  happen  to  be  different,  and  have  not  all  the 

162          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

i  arises  therefrom  a  t  difference  of  feeling  (and  thence  arises 
the  different  kind  of  pain  which  we  feel  when  we  are  struck 
in  the  eyes  or  on  the  hands  with  a  cane),  It  And  when  it 
happens  that  the  external  causes,  which  bring  about  these 
changes,  are  different  from  one  another,  and  have  not  all 
the  same  effect,  then  there  results  from  this  a  difference  of 
feeling  in  one  and  the  same  part  (and  from  this  results  the 
difference  of  feeling  according  as  one  and  the  same  hand  is 
struck  with  a  piece  of  wood  or  of  iron),  tt  And,  again, 

10  if  the  change  which  occurs  in  a  part  restores  it  to  its  first 
proportion  *of  motion  and  rest,*  there  arises  from  this  that 
joy  which  we  call  repose,  pleasurable  activity,  and  cheerful 
ness.  Lastly,  now  that  we  have  explained  what  feeling  is, 
we  can  easily  see  how  this  gives  rise  to  an  Idea  reflexiva,  or 
the  knowledge  of  oneself,  Experience  and  Reasoning.  And 
from  all  this  (as  also  because  our  soul  is  united  with  God, 
and  is  a  part  of  the  infinite  Idea,  arising  immediately  from 
God)  there  can  also  be  clearly  seen  the  origin  of  clear 
knowledge,  and  the  immortality  of  the  soul.  But,  for  the 

20  present,  what  we  have  said  must  be  enough. 

same  effect,  there  results  therefrom  a  difference  ot  feeling  in  one 
and  the  same  part :  such  as  \ve  experience  when  the  same  hand  is 
struck  with  a  piece  of  wood  or  of  iron.  But  when  the  change  which 
occurs  in  some  part  restores  it  to  its  previous  proportion  of  motion 
and  rest,  there  arises  .  .  . 

I  A  :  the. 

It  A  gives  the  words  in  brackets  immediately  after  "happens.'' 


Several  of  the  conceptions  which  are  either  tacitly  taken 
up  or  expressly  defined  by  Spinoza  are  no  longer  familiar 
to  us,  and  have  to  be  learned  like  the  vocabulary  of  a 
foreign  tongue ;  with  the  additional  disadvantage  that 
our  common  English  supplies  no  corresponding  terms, 
the  very  moulds  having  been  broken  and  cast  away  in 
which  the  thoughts  were  shaped." — MARTI NEAU. 


[The  numbers  in  large  type  refer  to  the  pages  of  the  translation 
those  in  smaller  type  to  the  lines.'] 


4.  THE  Preface  on  the  title-page  of  A  must  have  been  written 
by  an  ardent  follower  of  Spinoza,  not  by  Spinoza  himself. 
Hence  Monnikhoff  felt  justified  in  substituting  a  new  title- 
page  (6),  not  offensive  to  the  theologians.  The  engraved 
Portrait  in  A  (which  is  reproduced  here)  is  the  same  as  that 
found  in  some  copies  of  the  Opera  Posthuma,  and  was  prob 
ably  inserted  in  A  by  Monnikhoff,  who  also  wrote  the  verses 
facing  it.  It  is  uncertain  whether  the  portrait  was  engraved 
during  the  life-time  of  Spinoza.  According  to  Rieuwertsz, 
as  reported  by  Dr.  Hallmann  in  1704  (see  Introduction, 
p.  civ.),  it  was  engraved  some  three  or  four  years  after  the 
death  of  Spinoza,  probably  from  the  Wolfenbiittel  portrait 
(see  p.  xcvii.). 

The  verses  facing  the  portrait  have  been  rendered  by  Dr. 
Willis  as  follows  : 

"  Here  Art  presents  us  with  Spinoza's  lace, 
Wherein  deep  lines  of  sober  thought  we  trace  • 
Yet  is  the  mental  likeness  better  shown 
To  those  who  read  and  make  his  works  their  own." 


The  First  Part  is  devoted  to  the  consideration  of  God, 
His  existence,  attributes,  &c.     The  same  ground  was  sub- 


1 66          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

sequently  covered  in  the  First  Part  of  the  Ethics  (De  Deo). 
This  and  other  resemblances  to  the  Ethics  naturally  sug 
gested  that  the  Short  Treatise  was  an  early  draft  of  the 
Ethics.  Monnikhoff  actually  put  Ethica  on  the  title-page  of 
B,  and  the  Short  Treatise  is  sometimes  referred  to  as  the 
"  small  Ethics." 


15.  The  opening  is  remarkably  abrupt.  The  expression 
"as  regards  the  first"  suggests  a  preceding  enumeration 
of  topics  about  to  be  discussed,  but  no  such  enumeration 
is  given,  unless  it  be  on  the  title-page  of  the  Treatise, 
namely,  God,  Man,  &c.  Monnikhoff  tried  to  avoid  this 
crudity  by  substituting  "this"  for  "the  first."  But  the 
abruptness  remains,  and  is  the  more  striking  because  so 
many  of  the  other  chapters  begin  with  an  enumeration  of 
the  topics  to  be  discussed.  Freudenthal  has  suggested  that 
the  original  opening  may  have  been  as  follows  :  "  Man  has 
an  idea  of  God  as  a  Being  consisting  of  infinite  attributes, 
each  of  which  is  infinitely  perfect  in  its  kind.  First,  we 
will  show  that  such  a  Being  exists,  and  then  we  shall  give 
our  views  as  to  what  He  is.  As  regards  the  first  .  .  ." 
This  conjecture  is  based  partly  on  the  second  sentence  in 
chapter  ii.,  which  seems  to  have  been  misplaced. 

It  is  noteworthy  that  Spinoza  begins  with  proofs  that 
God  is,  and  only  then  proceeds  to  determine  what  He  is. 
The  reason  may  have  been  this.  He  was  teaching  people 
who  were  already  fairly  familiar  with  the  fundamentals  of 
the  Cartesian  philosophy.  He  therefore  commenced  with 
the  Cartesian  proofs  of  God's  existence,  and  gradually  led 
up  to  his  own  comparatively  strange  conception  of  God. 
This  kind  of  pedagogic  method  is  not  uncommon  in  the 
history  of  philosophy.  Kant,  e.g.,  started  from  the  then 
current  psychology  and  gradually  led  up  to  very  different, 
almost  startling  results. 


The  proofs  themselves  are  mainly  (though  not  altogether) 
Cartesian.  (See  Meditations,  III.  and  V.,  and  the  Appendix 
in  the  translation  of  Descartes'  Method,  &c.,  by  John 
Veitch).  Unlike  Descartes,  however,  Spinoza  attaches  the 
greatest  weight  to  the  a  priori  arguments. 

15,  5.  A  priori.  An  argument  is  said  to  be  a  priori  when 
it  proceeds  from  the  character  of  a  thing  to  its  implications, 
from  conditions  to  consequences,  or  from  causes  to  effects. 
It  is  said  to  be  a  posteriori  when  it  proceeds  from  conse 
quences  to  conditions,  or  from  effects  to  causes.  These 
terms  also  have  other  meanings,  but  not  in  Spinoza. 

15,  6ff.  The  underlying  thought  is  expressed  in  Spinoza's 
Principia  Philosophic?  Cartesiancz,  I.  Def.  ix.  "  When  we 
say  that  something  is  contained  in  the  nature  or  concept  of 
a  certain  thing,  that  is  the  same  as  saying  that  it  is  true  of 
that  thing,  or  that  it  can  be  truly  affirmed  of  that  thing." 

15,  7.  The  word  "nature"  here  means  "character"  or 
"  essence."  More  commonly  it  means  the  material  world, 
or  (in  Spinoza  and  Bruno,  e.g.)  even  the  entire  universe. 
Note  t  was  intended  to  guard  against  this  ambiguity. 

15,  13.  "Essence"  is  one  of  the  most  difficult  terms  in 
Spinoza's  vocabulary.  In  the  Cogitata  Metaphysica  it  is 
said  to  be  "  nothing  else  than  that  mode  by  which 
created  objects  are  comprehended  in  the  attributes  of  God." 
Briefly,  the  essence  of  a  thing  is  its  share  of,  or  participation 
in,  ultimate  reality.  In  the  case  of  God,  essence  and  exist 
ence  coincide.  In  the  case  of  other  things  their  existence 
as  relatively  independent  entities  is  distinct  from  their 

"  Eternity,"  in  its  stricter  sense,  does  not  mean  "  incessant 
duration  in  time,"  but  reality  independently  of  time  or 
beyond  it. 

15,  1 6.  "The  existence  of  God  is  essence."  Compare 
Maimonides'  Guide  of  the  Perplexed,  I.  Ivii. — "  It  is  known 
that  existence  is  an  accident  [  =  quality]  appertaining  to  all 

168          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

things,  and  therefore  an  element  superadded  to  their  essence. 
This  must  evidently  be  the  case  as  regards  everything  the 
existence  of  which  is  due  to  some  cause  ;  its  existence  is 
an  element  superadded  to  its  essence.  But  as  regards  a 
being  whose  existence  is  not  due  to  any  cause — God 
alone  is  that  being,  for  His  existence,  as  we  have  said,  is 
absolute — existence  and  essence  are  perfectly  identical. 
He  is  not  a  substance  to  which  existence  is  joined  as  an 
accident,  as  an  additional  element.  His  existence  is  always 
absolute,  and  has  never  been  a  new  element  or  an  accident 
in  Him"  (Friedlander's  translation,  2nd  ed.,  p.  80). 

15,  21 /.  Such  merely  verbal  alternations  show  that  the 
Treatise  was  never  properly  edited.     Cf.  25,  31. 

The  illustration  is  the  same  as  in  Descartes'  fifth  Medita 

16,  2.  The    reference-mark    t    is    apparently    misplaced, 
because  the  note  referred  to  really  follows  up  the  preceding 
a  priori  arguments,  and  therefore  belongs  to  15,  17. 

16,  3.  Fonnaliter  =  actually  or  objectively  (in  the  modern 
sense).  The  identification  of  fonnalis  and  actualis  in 
medieval  philosophy  was  due  to  the  influence  of  Aristo- 
telianism.  According  to  Aristotle,  individual  things  are 
compounds  of  Matter  and  Form,  and  Form  is  the  more 
important  of  the  two.  Matter  is  the  as  yet  imperfect  or  the 
merely  potential,  which  requires  Form  to  make  it  actual. 
Hence  during  the  supremacy  of  Aristotelian  philosophy  in 
the  Middle  Ages,  Matter  was  identified  with  Potentiality, 
and  Form  with  Actuality,  so  that  j  or  malls  =  actualis. 

16,  9.  "  Objective  "  =  in  thought,  or  subjectively  (in  the 
modern  sense).  The  present  use  of  the  terms  "subjective" 
and  " objective"  is  the  reverse  of  former  usage.  By 
" subject"  (subjectum  =  VTTOKZIJULWOV)  used  to  be  meant  the 
substrate  or  concrete  reality  supporting  or  "  underlying  " 
its  properties,  and  hence  also  the  subject  of  predication, 
because  in  predication  these  properties  or  qualities  are 


generally  predicated  of  their  "  subject."  (For  an  illustra 
tion  of  the  older  use  of  the  term  "subject,"  see,  e.g.,  18, 
23).  By  " object"  (objectum  =  OLVTIKSIIULWOV),  on  the  other 
hand,  was  meant  something  which  consisted  in  "  lying 
opposite"  or  before  the  mind  (quatenus  objicitur  intellcctui) , 
so  that  "objective  "  referred  only  to  the  sphere  of  thought. 
This  usage  is  already  met  with  in  the  writings  of  Duns 
Scotus  (died  1308),  and  continued,  with  some  modifications, 
right  into  the  eighteenth  century — Berkeley,  e.g.,  still  used 
"  real  "  as  an  antithesis  to  "  objective."  The  noun  "  object  " 
(objectum)  acquired  its  present  meaning  long  before  the 
adjective  did.  Already  Descartes  used  to  term  "  objects  "  for 
" things"  ("  in  objectis,  hoc  est  in  rebus." — Principia  Phil.). 
The  transition  to  the  present  meaning  of  "  subjective  "  was 
probably  brought  about  by  the<application  of  the  term  subjec- 
tum  to  the  soul  as  distinguished  from  (or  as  the  bearer  of) 
its  "  objective  "  ideas.  (Leibniz,  e.g.,  used  the  expression  : 
" subjectwm  ou  Tame  meme.")  Hence  '•  subjective"  came  to 
indicate  whatever  had  reference  to  the  soul. 

16,  29  ff.  The  text  is  obscure  and  most  probably  corrupt. 
"  Want  de  Idea  en  bestaat  niet  materialiter  van  de  eigen- 
schap  die  tot  dit  \veezen  behoort,  alzo  dat  net  geen  't  welk 
bevestigt  wordt,  en  is  noch  van  de  zaak  noch  van  dat 
geen  't  welk  van  de  zaak  bevestigt  word  ;  .  .  ."  Sigwart 
translates  as  though  "  van  de  eigenschap  "  followed  imme 
diately  after  "Idea"— "  the  Idea  of  the  attribute  which 
belongs  to  this  being  does  not  exist  materialiter.  .  .  ." 
Freudenthal  has  suggested  the  insertion  of  "van  de  Idea" 
between  "  het  geen  't  welk"  and  "bevestigt" — "so  that 
that  which  is  affirmed  [of  the  Idea]  is  .  .  ."  But  the  note 
remains  obscure.  Perhaps  the  meaning  intended  was  this. 
The  ontological  argument  maintains  that  the  essence  of 
God  involves  His  existence,  or  (expressed  more  generally) 
that  the  essential  attributes  of  a  certain  Ideatum  [=the 
object  represented  by  an  idea]  imply  the  presence  of  yet 

170          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

another  attribute  (existence,  in  this  case).  The  objection  to 
this  is  that  the  implied  additional  attribute  may  be  true  of 
the  Idea,  but  not  of  the  Idcatum.  And  this  is  met  by  the 
argument  that  the  new  attribute  is  inferred  from  the 
other  (essential)  attributes,  and  if  it  is  to  be  predicated  at 
all  can  only  be  predicated  of  that  which  has  those  other 
(essential)  attributes.  Now  the  Idea  is  not  actually  com 
posed  (materialiter)  of  those  attributes  or  qualities  ;  these 
really  pertain  to  the  Idcatum.  If,  therefore,  the  new  attribute 
(existence)  follows  at  all  from  the  others  it  must  be  pre 
dicated  of  the  Ideatum,  not  of  the  Idea,  which  is  materialiter 
so  unlike  the  Ideatum  that  the  same  attributes  cannot  be 
affirmed  of  both.  This  argument  does  not  prove  the 
accuracy  of  the  ontological  proof ;  but  it  seems  to  have 
been  directed  only  against  the  half-hearted  acceptance  of  it 
as  valid  in  so  far  as  the  Idea  of  God  was  concerned. 

17,  33  /.  In    opposition  to   Descartes,  Spinoza  maintains 
that  man  could  not  of  himself  produce  any  idea  whatever. 
The  elementary  constituent  ideas  even  of  fictions  must  have 
been  called  forth  in  man  by  external  causes.    Descartes  only 
insisted  that   man    could    not   produce   the  idea  of    God  ; 
Spinoza  extends  the  denial  to  all  ideas.     Compare  16,  18  ff. 

18,5.  Essentia  objcctiva  or  "objective"  essence  =  the 
essence  of  a  thing  as  represented  in  thought.  The  corre 
spondence  between  an  idea  and  its  ideatum,  or  object,  is 
described  in  the  language  of  scholastic  philosophy  as  a  kind 
of  two-fold  existence  of  the  "essence"  of  that  object.  The 
essence  exists  formalitcr  (actually)  in  the  individual  concrete 
thing;  it  exists  objective,  or  has  "objective"  essence,  in 
thought  (as  an  idea). 

18,  8.  Formaliter — cminenter.     This   scholastic    antithesis 
has  reference  to  the  relation  of  a  cause  to  its  effect.     If  the 
cause  contained  more  reality  or  greater  perfection  than  its 
effect,  then  it  was  said  to  be  an  eminent  cause,  or  to  pro 
duce  its  effect  eminenter  or  modo  erninentiori.     In  this  way, 


e.g.,  God  (according  to  Descartes)  is  the  ''eminent"  cause 
of  the  human  mind.  But  if,  on  the  other  hand,  the  cause 
contained  only  as  much  (it  cannot,  of  course,  contain  less) 
perfection  as  its  cause,  it  was  said  to  have  produced  it 
formaliter  or  secundum  eandern  for  mam.  Thus,  e.g.,  the 
pressure  of  a  foot  was  said  to  cause  a  footprint  formaliter. 
This  use  of  formaliter  is  different  from  that  explained  in  the 
preceding  note. 

The  words  "though  not  eminentcr  .  .  .  outside  him" 
seem  to  be  both  irrelevant  and  inaccurate.  Possibly  they 
are  only  a  reader's  comment.  It  is  not  clear  why  God's 
supreme  excellence  should  prevent  His  being  the  eminent 
cause  of  our  idea  of  Him.  The  opposite  view  would  seem 
more  reasonable.  Probably  it  is  implied  that  the  idea  of 
God  contains  as  much  perfection  objective  as  God  has 
formaliter;  its  cause,  therefore,  can  only  be  formal,  not 
eminent,  because  nothing  (not  even  God  Himself)  is  more 
perfect  formaliter  than  it  (the  idea  of  God)  is  objective. 

18,  13.  Pegasus,  for  instance.     Cf.  Descartes,  Med.  V. 

18,  23.  Subjectum — see  note  to  16,  9. 

19,  3.  Attributes.     The  expression  is  here  used  in  its  more 
usual   meaning,    not    in    the    stricter  sense    in    which   it  is 
generally  employed  in  Spinoza's  writings.     Hence    note  f. 
In   the   stricter   sense  of   the    term   "attribute"    only   two 
attributes   of  God   or    Nature   are   known   to  us,   namely, 
Extension  and  Thought.    Each  of  these  is  a  summum  genus, 
and    is    not    derived   from   anything    else.      "  Properties " 
(propria  or  proprietaries)  are  derivative,  they  follow  from  the 
attributes.     The  "  attributes  "  referred  to  in  the  text  are,  as 
note  t  explains,  only  "  properties,"   because  they  are   not 
summa  genera,  they  are  not  "  substantial  "  or  self-dependent, 
but  imply  the  "attributes"  which  constitute  "substance" 
or  the  self-dependent  reality  (God  or  Nature). 

20,  15.  Causa  sui  =  the  self-existent.      The  expression  is 
awkward  and  misleading.    Spinoza  did  not  invent  it ;  it  was 

172          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

part  of  the  philosophical  vocabulary  of  his  time,  and  had 
been  in  use  for  many  centuries  before  that.  It  was  probably 
suggested  originally  by  the  Platonic  expression  iavTo  KIVOVV. 
Strictly  speaking,  that  which  is  causa  sui,  or  "its  own 
cause,"  really  has  no  cause  at  all.  Spinoza  himself  has 
pointed  out  the  absurd  implication  of  the  phrase  causa  sui. 
It  seems  to  imply  that  something  which  did  not  exist  could 
yet  operate  in  such  a  way  as  to  bring  itself  into  existence 
(see  114,  6  ff.,  and  146,  18  ff.). 

20,  17.  Thomas  Aquinas  (?  1225-1274),  called  Doctor 
angelicus,  brought  about  the  most  intimate  fusion  between 
Aristotelianism  and  Catholicism.  His  favourite  argument  for 
the  existence  of  God  was  the  Aristotelian  a  posteriori  argu 
ment  that  the  existence  of  Motion  implied  the  existence  of 
an  original  unmoved  Mover.  The  passage  referred  to  is 
probably  Summa  Theologize,  I.  ii.  2. 

20,  24  ff.  The  rest  of  this  note  seems  to  be  quite  irrelevant 
here.  A  gives  it  in  its  proper  context,  22,  12  ff. 


21,  4  ff.  This  chapter  begins  immediately  with  a  definition 
of  God,  but  without  any  indication  as  to  the  way  in  which 
the  definition  has  been  arrived  at.  Note  f,  however,  makes 
it  clear  that  Spinoza  really  started  with  the  traditional  con 
ception  of  God  as  Ens  perfectissimum,  or  "  the  most  perfect 
Being  "  (see  lines  18  /.),  and  developed  his  conception  from  it. 

It  is  noteworthy  that  the  definition  of  God  given  here  does 
not  describe  Him  as  "  Substance,"  as  does  the  later  defini 
tion  in  the  Ethics.  Here  the  definition  of  God  is  followed 
up  by  an  independent  treatment  of  the  notion  "  Substance  " 
(lines  9ff.),  and  it  is  then  made  apparent  that  the  two  notions 
"  God  "  and  "  Substance  "  converge. 

21,  9.  Spinoza  begins  his  account  of  "  substance  ;;  with 
out  defining  what  he  means  by  that  term.  He  evidently 


starts  from  the  Cartesian  doctrine  of  two  ultimate  kinds 
of  substances,  namely,  Extension  and  Thought,  and  then 
suddenly  shows  that  there  can  only  be  one  Substance.  To 
begin  with  he  tacitly  assumes  the  possibility  of  the  existence 
of  a  multiplicity  of  substances  all  grounded  in  the  perfection 
of  God.  When  he  has  shown  that  there  is  only  one 
Substance  he  identifies  it  with  God  by  identifying  both  with 
Nature.  Descartes  had  defined  "  substance "  as  "  a  thing 
which  exists  in  such  a  way  as  to  stand  in  need  of  nothing 
beyond  itself  in  order  to  its  existence."  "  In  truth "  (he 
added)  "  there  can  be  conceived  but  one  Substance  which  is 
absolutely  independent,  and  that  is  God."  He  applied, 
however,  the  term  "  substance  "  (or  "  created  substance ") 
to  minds  and  bodies,  because,  except  God,  nothing  else  is 
required  for  their  existence  ;  and,  pointing  out  that  Thought 
and  Extension  were  the  "  principal  attributes  "  constituting 
the  essence  of  minds  and  bodies  respectively,  he  spoke  of 
Extension  and  Thought  as  the  ultimate  and  distinct  kinds 
of  substances.  These  substances  acquired  such  a  measure 
of  independence  that  it  was  beyond  Descartes  to  reunite 
them  again,  except  in  an  external  kind  of  way. 

Spinoza  approached  the  subject  with  the  conviction  that 
Nature  was  One  and  perfect,  in  the  fullest  sense  of  these 
expressions.  He  consequently  took  "Substance"  quite 
seriously.  The  only  really  independent  or  self-dependent 
being  was  the  complete  system  of  Reality,  or  Nature.  Hence, 
beginning  with  a  somewhat  looser  (Cartesian)  conception 
of  "  Substance,"  he  gradually  led  up  to  the  conclusion  that 
there  was  only  one  substance,  of  which  all  other  so-called 
substances  were  either  attributes  or  modifications. 

21,  21  ff.  Note  ft  presents  in  a  different  form  the  argu 
ment  of  the  text  as  far  as  25,  13. 

23,  23  ff.  This  distinction  between  "creating  "  and  "gene 
rating  "  occurs  also  in  the  Cogitata  Metaphysica,  II.  x.,  where, 
however,  he  seems  to  vindicate  the  possibility  of  creation, 


174          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

only  confining  it  to  substances  (in  the  Cartesian  sense)  or 
attributes.  "  A  created  object "  (he  says  there)  " is  one  which 
presupposes  for  its  existence  nothing  except  God."  Modes 
and  accidents  presuppose  also  the  attributes  or  substances 
Extension  and  Thought.  They  are  consequently  not 
"created,"  but  "generated."  Only  that  has  been  created 
"  whose  essence  is  clearly  conceived  even  without  existence, 
and  is  conceived,  moreover,  per  se  " — Extension  is  given  as 
an  instance.  As  soon  as  Spinoza  identified  Extension, 
Thought,  and  all  other  (unknown)  attributes  with  God, 
there  was  no  room  for  this  notion  of  "  creation,"  except, 
perhaps,  in  that  inane  sense  in  which  it  is  still  implied  in  the 
expression  causa  sui.  Hence  the  denial  of  "  creation "  in 
the  present  treatise.  And  the  "  essences  "  of  things,  though 
described  in  the  Cogitata  Metaphysica  as  having  been 
"  created,"  must  here  be  regarded  simply  as  eternal.  Traces 
of  the  earlier  belief  in  "creation  "  are,  however, still  observ 
able  in  the  Treatise,  pp.  24,  57. 

24,  24^.  Cf.  Maimonides'  Guide  (II.  xx.  p.  190):  "The 
series  of  causes  ends  with  the  First  Cause,  from  which 
everything  derives  its  existence,  since  it  is  impossible  that 
the  series  should  continue  in  infinitum."  Here,  then, 
Spinoza  agrees  with  Maimonides,  and  with  the  Aristotelians 
generally,  that  the  causal  series  cannot  continue  in  infinitum. 
But  his  views  changed  subsequently,  and  in  his  i2th  Letter 
we  find  Spinoza  praising  Rabbi  Hasdai  Crescas  for  furnish 
ing  an  argument  for  the  existence  of  God,  independently 
of  the  supposed  impossibility  of  such  an  infinite  causal 

24,  30.  "  This  only  substance."  Spinoza  does  not  say 
what  substance  he  means,  but  he  evidently  identifies  it  with 

24,  31.  "Substance  or  attribute."  The  expression  is  note 
worthy.  When  writing  the  Short  Treatise  Spinoza  was  still 
very  much  under  the  influence  of  Cartesian  nomenclature. 


He  was  still  inclined  to  speak  of  Extension  and  Thought 
as  substances.  It  seemed  to  him  a  matter  of  indifference 
whether  these  were  described  as  "substances  "  or  as  "  attri 
butes"  ;  he  used  either  term,  and  sometimes  both  in  con 
junction,  as  here  (see,  e.g.,  28,  13  ;  29,  5  ;  34,  2  ff.  ;  154,  18). 
At  this  stage,  in  fact,  he  defined  "  attribute  "  in  the  same 
terms  as  he  subsequently  denned  "substance."  In  his  2nd 
Letter  (1661)  he  denned  "  attribute  "  as  "  whatever  is  con 
ceived  through  itself  and  in  itself,  so  that  the  conception  there 
of  does  not  involve  the  conception  of  anything  else."  He 
illustrated  his  meaning  by  comparing  Extension  with  motion. 
Extension  can  be  conceived  through  itself  and  in  itself,  and 
is  therefore  an  attribute  ;  motion,  on  the  other  hand,  cannot 
be  conceived  without  Extension  ;  it  is  therefore  not  an 
attribute,  but  only  a  mode  (or  modification)  of  an  attribute 
(Extension).  In  his  Qth  Letter  (1663)  Spinoza  defined 
"substance"  in  the  same  terms  as  the  preceding  definition 
of  "attribute,"  and  explicitly  identified  the  two.  "  By  sub 
stance  I  mean  that  which  exists  in  itself,  and  is  conceived 
through  itself ;  that  is,  the  conception  whereof  does  not 
involve  the  conception  of  anything  else.  I  mean  the  same 
by  attribute,  except  that  it  is  called  attribute  with  respect  to 
the  intellect  which  ascribes  a  certain  character  to  sub 
stance."  This,  Spinoza  added,  will  explain  what  he  meant 
by  using  the  expression,  "  substance  or  attribute."  Briefly, 
"substance"  simply  consists  of  its  "attributes,"  but  of  all 
of  them  ;  while  each  "attribute"  is  only  one  (ultimate  and 
real)  aspect  or  feature  of  "substance."  The  totality  of 
attributes  is  therefore  identical  with  substance,  and  Spinoza 
accordingly  felt  at  liberty  to  speak  sometimes  as  though  he 
ignored  the  difference  between  "  substance  "  and  "  attri 
bute."  This,  however,  occasioned  some  difficulty  among 
his  disciples  and  friends.  He  therefore  eventually  adopted 
the  stricter  distinction  found  in  the  Ethics.  But  even  the 
Ethics  still  retains  traces  of  the  earlier  and  laxer  usage ;  in 

176          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

Ethics,  I.  xv.  Schol.,  he  speaks  of  "  extended  substance"  as 
"  one  of  the  infinite  attributes  of  God." 

25,  2  /.  What  Spinoza  meant  by  the  argument  "  from  the 
simplicity  of  God's  will "  may  be  explained  by  the  following 
passage  in  Maimonides'  Guide  of  the  Perplexed  (II.  xiv.)  : 
"  An  agent  is  active  at  one  time  and  inactive  at  another, 
according  as  the  circumstances  are  favourable  or  unfavour 
able.  .  .  .  As,  however,  God  is  not  subject  to  accidents 
which  could  bring  about  a  change  in  His  will,  and  is  not 
affected  by  obstacles  and  hindrances  that  might  appear  or 
disappear,  it  is  impossible,  they  [i.e.,  those  who  maintain 
the  eternity  of  the  world]  argue,  to  imagine  that  God  is 
active  at  one  time  and  inactive  at  another.  He  is,  on  the 
contrary,  always  active  in  the  same  manner  as  He  is  always 
in  actual  existence"  (p.  175). 

25,  7/.  This  is  a  difficult  sentence.  "  En  dat  meer  is,  zo 
doende  zouden  er  oneyndelijke  zelfstandigheeden  meer  niet 
zijn  als  er  zijn,  het  welke  ongerijmt  is."  Quite  literally  it 
means,  u .  .  .  there  would  be  no  more  infinite  substances 
than  there  are  .  .  ."  By  taking  "  meer  "  as  though  it  pre 
ceded  "  oneyndelijke,"  we  get  " .  .  .  there  would  be  more 
infinite  substances  not  in  existence  than  there  are  in  exist 
ence."  This  seems  less  unintelligible,  but  its  relevancy  is 
not  obvious.  Perhaps  it  was  only  some  reader's  marginal 
comment.  B  omits  it. 

25,  9-13.  The  identification  of  Nature  with  God  does  not 
appear  to  be  a  plausible  conclusion  from  what  precedes. 
Freudenthal  has  suggested  that  this  sentence  is  in  the 
wrong  place,  and  should  follow  immediately  after  line  12 
on  p.  23. 

25,  14^.  The  consideration  of  objections  which  begins 
here  is  regarded  by  Avenarius  and  Sigwart  as  a  later  inter 
polation.  The  main  argument,  they  say,  is  continued  on 
the  following  page,  line  20,  the  intervening  paragraphs 
being  obviously  a  digression.  But  whether  it  is  a  later 


insertion  or  not;  the  passage  does  not  seem  to  me  to  be 
really  a  digression.  Its  purpose  is  to  confirm  by  a  different 
line  of  argument  the  identification  of  God  with  Nature, 
which  is  the  burden  of  the  preceding  paragraph.  The  usual 
conception  of  Nature  as  created  by,  and  different  from, 
God,  tacitly  assumes  that  there  is  a  difference  between  the 
ideas  or  plans  of  God,  and  His  realisation  or  actualisation 
of  these  ideal  possibilities.  By  attacking  this  distinction 
between  the  ideal  and  the  real,  between  the  possible  and 
the  actual,  Spinoza  evidently  helps  to  confirm  his  identifica 
tion  of  God  and  Nature,  both  of  which  are  real,  and  the 
totality  of  all  that  is  real.  Viewed  in  this  way,  the  passage 
forms  an  important  part  of  Spinoza's  argument,  and  we  find 
it  repeated  in  the  Ethics,  I.  xvii.  Schol. 

25,  24 /.  Spinoza's  view  that  God  "  cannot  create  what  is 
self-contradictory "  is  also  found  in  Maimonides,  and  is 
opposed  to  the  view  of  Descartes.  Descartes  put  no  limita 
tions  whatever  to  God's  omnipotence  (except  apparently  in 
Med.  VI.) ;  even  contradictory  propositions  might  be  true 
together  if  God  willed  it  so.  Maimonides,  on  the  other 
hand,  maintained  that  even  God  could  not  endow  a  thing 
with  contradictory  qualities  (Guide,  III.  xv.  p.  279). 

25,  25.  "  As  it  is  .  .  . "  =  for  it  is  self-contradictory,  or 
it  is  like  expecting  God  to  do  what  is  self-contradictory, 
when  we  say,  &c. 

25,  31.  Merely  verbal  alternatives.     See  note  to  15,  21. 

26,  i  ff.  The  subtle  conundrum,  whether  God  can  know 
more  than  He  does  know,  was  actually  discussed  by  Peter 
Lombard,  Bishop  of  Paris  (died  1134). 

26,  22  /.  "  Although  .  .  ."  Spinoza  is  here  alluding  to 
Descartes'  assumption  (Princ.  Phil.  I.  Ix.)  that  "  it  is  suffi 
cient  to  assure  us  that  two  substances  are  really  mutually 
distinct  if  only  we  are  able  clearly  and  distinctly  to  conceive 
the  one  of  them  without  the  other." 

26,  32.  "  Infinite,"  that  is,  in  number  as  well  as  in  extent. 

178          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

27,  3  ff.  It  has  not  yet  been  shown  that  it  is  impossible  for 
substances  to  begin  to  exist ;  nor  is  it  shown  in  this  Treatise 
as  we  now  have  it.  Something  seems,  therefore,  to  be 

27,  6  ff.  "  Substance "    is  not   used  here  in   the   stricter 
sense,  but  instead  of  "attribute."     The  "essence"  of  the 
one    "  substance "  (in  the   stricter   meaning)  does  involve 
"  existence,"    but   when    either    Thought   or    Extension    is 
"  considered  separately,"  then  we  can  conceive  it  clearly 
without   assuming   its    existence   (cf.  Cog.  Metaph.  I.   ii.). 
Note  ff  corrects  the  loose  employment  of  the  word  "  sub 
stance  "  in  the  text. 

28,  i  ff.  Descartes,   e.g.,    argued   that   "God   cannot   be 
body,"    because    extension    involves    divisibility,  and   this 
again  passivity,  which  is  an  imperfection,  because  it  implies 
dependence  on  something  else  (Princ.  Phil.  I.  xxiii.). 

28,  5.  The  account  of  Nature  which  follows  in  the  text 
contains  many  thoughts  which  are  also  found  in  the  writ 
ings  of  Giordano  Bruno.  See  the  notes  to  the  first 
Dialogue  (p.  183  /.). 

28,6.  "Things  of  reason"  —  mere  modes  of  thought. 
In  the  Cog.  Metaph.  (I.  i.  and  iii.)  Spinoza  distinguishes  as 
follows  between  a  real  thing  (ens  reale),  a  chimera,  a  thing 
of  reason  (ens  rationis),  and  a  fiction  (ens  fictum) :  A  chimera 
is  only  a  verbal  expression  denoting  something  which  can 
neither  be,  nor  be  conceived,  because  it  involves  a  self- 
contradiction  (e.g.,  a  square  circle)  ;  a  thing  of  reason  (or  a 
merely  logical  entity)  is  a  mode  of  thought  which  does  not 
exist  outside  the  thinking  mind,  though  it  may  be  an  im 
portant  means  of  representing  extra-mental  realities  (e.g., 
genera  and  species,  time,  number,  and  measure)  ;  a  fiction 
is  "  a  thing  of  reason,"  in  so  far  as  it  is  only  a  mode  of 
thought  (or  of  imagination)  and  has  no  corresponding  reality 
outside  the  mind ;  but  not  all  "  things  of  reason  "  are  fictions, 
only  those  which  involve  arbitrary  or  accidental  imaginary 


combinations.  The  Scholastics  did  not  as  a  rule  distinguish 
between  res  fictce  and  entia  rationis.  Burgersdijck  describes 
both  as  "  entia  quorum  esse  nihil  aliud  est  quam  intelligi," 
that  is,  as  mere  modes  of  thought. 

28,  7.  "  Nature"  is  here  used  in  the  narrower  and  more 
usual  sense,  namely,  as  equivalent  to  "the  physical  world." 
In  the  wider  sense  peculiar  to  Spinoza  and  Bruno,  "  Nature  " 
=  Substance  =  the  entire  Universe.     In  "  Nature  "  thus  re 
garded,  "  things  of  reason  "  have  reality  as  modes  of  thought. 
Hence  the  note  (line  13),  "  In  Nature,  that  is,  in  substantial 
extension  "  =  in  the  so-called  Substance  Extension,  or  in 
"Substance"  regarded  solely  under   the   "attribute"  Ex 

29,  3.  The  view  that  water  "  consists  of  straight  oblong 
particles  "  is  Cartesian  (Meteor  ologia,  I.  3). 

29,  24.  The  "  substance  "  referred  to  is  that  of  Extension 
("substance"  here  =  "attribute  " — cf.  note  to  24,   31),   of 
which  water  is  a  "mode"  or  modification.     Extension,  it 
is  here  maintained,  is  a  continuum. 

30,  i  /.  What  is  here  said  to  have  been  "  already  stated  " 
is  first  considered  in  the  Dialogues  which  follow,  and  in 
chapter  iii.     Apparently   something   is   missing  from   the 
preceding  part  of  the  Treatise. 

30,  3.  An  "  immanent "  or  "  inner  "  cause  is  a  cause  whose 
effects  are  confined  within  itself,  as  distinguished  from  a 
"  transeunt "  or  "  transitive  "  cause  which  operates  on  things 
outside  itself.  God,  according  to  Spinoza,  is  an  "  imma 
nent"  cause  for  the  same  reason  that  he  is  causa  sui, 
namely,  because  "  outside  God  there  is  nothing  at  all," 
whether  to  affect  Him  or  to  be  affected  by  Him.  This 
conception  involves,  of  course,  the  view  that  God  is  not 
outside  or  above  the  world,  but  in  it.  In  other  words, 
Spinoza's  God  is  not  a  transcendent  but  an  immanent  God. 
And  since  the  time  of  Spinoza  the  doctrine  of  divine  imma 
nence  has  become  a  commonplace  among  theologians  of  all 

iSo          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

the  chief  religions,  instead  of  being  more  or  less  confined 
to  the  more  pronounced  mystics,  as  it  was  till  then. 

30,  loff.  This  illustration  of  an  immanent  cause  (which 
is  also  repeated  on  p.  34,  line  30)  seems  unfortunate,  be 
cause  Spinoza  says  distinctly  (106,  20  ff. ;  cf.  also  p.  37,  note) 
that  the  "  Understanding"  is  only  an  abstraction  ;  it  cannot, 
therefore,  cause  anything.  Had  Spinoza  revised  the  Treatise 
for  publication  this  and  similar  inconsistencies  would  have 
been  removed. 

30,  24.  "  If  body,"  &c.— that  is,  if  matter  were  really  sub 
stance,  or  if  substance  were  merely  matter,  and  had  no  other 
attributes,  &c. 

31,  2  ff.  In  the  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus  (xiii.)  there 
is  a  similar  distinction  between  God's  "  absolute  attributes," 
which  unfold  the  "absolute   essence   of   God,"  and  other 
"attributes"   (aspects   or   properties)   which   indicate    His 
relation  to  "  created  things." 

31,  7.  "  An  extraneous  denomination  "  (denominatio  extrin- 
sica  or  externa)  or  "  external  designation  "  is  contrasted  with 
an  "intrinsic  denomination"  (denominatio  interna  or  intrin- 
sica).  The  latter  unfolds  the  essential  attributes  of  a  thing  ; 
the  former  only  the  non-essential  properties,  accidents,  &c. 
The  term  is  used  somewhat  loosely  here.  Usually  Spinoza 
means  by  "denominatio  extrinsica  "  a  term  that  indicates  the 
relation  of  one  thing  to  another — or  what  one  thing  is  or 
does  to  another,  as  distinguished  from  what  it  is  in  itself. 
In  this  more  usual  sense  self-existence,  eternity,  unity,  and 
immutability  could  hardly  be  described  as  "extraneous 
denominations."  Possibly  there  is  a  slight  confusion  in  the 
text ;  or  the  division  which  Spinoza  intended  may  have  been 
as  follows.  Whatever  is  predicated  of  God  denotes  either 
(a)  what  is  essential  in  Him,  or  (b)  what  is  not  essential  ; 
if  non-essential  (&),  then  it  indicates  either  (i)  a  "  pro 
perty  "  of  God  other  than,  though  deducible  from,  His 
"  essential  attributes,"  but  still  representing  what  God 


is  in  Himself,  or  (ii)  some  relationship  in  which  God  stands 
to  others.  So  long  as  Spinoza  did  not  employ  the  term 
"  attribute  "  in  the  strict  sense  in  which  he  here  distinguishes 
it  from  "  properties/'  anything  coming  under  (a)  or  (b  i) 
would  be  designated  as  denominatio  intrinsica,  while  (b  ii) 
alone  would  be  described  as  denominatio  extrinsica.  But 
owing  to  his  stricter  usage  he  had  no  suitable  name  for 
(b  i)  as  distinguished  from  both  (a)  and  (b  ii).  He  seems, 
therefore,  to  have  grouped  (b  i)  and  (b  ii)  together  as 
"  extraneous  denominations  "  in  a  wider  sense.  If  so,  the 
word  "  either  "  has  got  misplaced  somehow. 

31,  ii.  "  What  he  is  "—that  is,  essentially. 

31,  12.  "Attributes"  =  properties  (not  "  attributes"  in  the 
strict  sense). 


32.  The  Outline  of  the  Short  Treatise  which  was  dis 
covered  and  published  by  Boehmer  does  not  mention  the 
Dialogues,  although  it  refers  to  the  Notes  and  the  Appen 
dices.  This  seems  disquieting  at  first.  Yet  no  one  has 
seriously  questioned  the  authenticity  of  the  Dialogues. 
Their  contents  are  as  intimately  connected  with  the  line  of 
thought  expounded  in  the  rest  of  the  Short  Treatise  as  the 
contents  of  the  Treatise  itself  are  with  the  trend  of  thought 
in  Spinoza's  Ethics.  But  although  their  genuineness  cannot 
be  disputed  it  may  be  questioned  whether  they  originally 
formed  part  of  the  Treatise,  or  were  only  subsequently 
added  either  by  Spinoza  or  some  one  else.  The  tendency  is 
to  regard  them  as  more  or  less  independent  essays,  which 
were  only  inserted  afterwards  in  their  present  place  by  a 
disciple  or  copyist.  If  their  insertion  was  an  afterthought, 
then  it  is  quite  conceivable  that  some  of  the  manuscripts  of 
the  Short  Treatise  may  not  have  contained  the  Dialogues  ; 

i82          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

and  if  Boehmer's  Outline  was  based  on  such  a  manuscript 
the  omission  of  all  reference  to  the  Dialogues  would  thus  be 
accounted  for.  The  fact  that  they  are  given  in  both  codices, 
A  and  B,  of  which  A  may  have  been  copied  already  during 
the  lifetime  of  Spinoza,  is  certainly  in  their  favour. 

With  remarkable  agreement  most  critics  have  treated  the 
Dialogues  as  the  oldest  of  Spinoza's  known  writings.  The 
arguments  for  this  view  mostly  turn  on  their  supposed 
immaturity,  fragmentariness,  and  crudeness.  Freudenthal, 
however,  has  shown  (Spinozastudien,  II.)  that  this  view  is 
untenable,  because  the  Dialogues  are  really  unintelligible 
unless  they  are  read  in  the  light  of  various  ideas  explained 
in  different  parts  of  the  Short  Treatise.  He  maintains 
(rightly,  we  think)  that  the  Dialogues  were  written  after  the 
the  bulk  of  the  Short  Treatise,  as  separate  and  fuller  elucida 
tions  of  certain  problems  already  briefly  dealt  with  in  the 
Treatise,  a  familiarity  with  which  they  assumed.  It  is  this 
tacit  reliance  on  the  exposition  of  various  views  already 
given  in  the  Treatise  that  gives  to  the  Dialogues  an  appear 
ance  of  fragmentariness  and  crudeness.  In  reality  they 
are  no  more  immature  than  the  rest  of  the  Short  Treatise, 
while  their  very  assumption  of  the  various  doctrines  ex 
plained  in  the  Treatise  shows  that  they  must  have  been 
written  later. 

To  some  extent  Sigwart  anticipated  Freudenthal's  view 
by  showing  that  the  second  Dialogue  might  very  well  have 
been  written  after  the  rest  of  the  Treatise.  But  he  insisted 
that  the  first  Dialogue  must  have  been  written  some  years 
before  the  Treatise.  The  two  Dialogues,  however,  can  hardly 
be  separated.  The  second  one  really  takes  up  the  theme 
with  which  the  first  concludes,  and  the  closing  remarks  of 
the  second  Dialogue  seem  to  revert  deliberately  to  the 
opening  words  of  the  first. 



The  insertion  of  this  Dialogue  here  was  no  doubt  suggested 
by  the  references  to  Nature  in  the  preceding  (second)  chapter 
(pp.  24-27).    For  this  Dialogue  gives  a  further  exposition  of 
Spinoza's  conception  of   Nature.     The   view  of   Nature  as 
animated   and   as    coinciding  with    the  Universe  in  all    its 
entirety   and    eternity   is    also    found    in    the    writings    of 
Giordano   Bruno,  especially  in  the  Dialogues  De  la  Causa, 
&c.     Avenarius  and  Sigwart  have  cited  numerous  passages 
from  Bruno  which  are  similar  in  intent  to  this  and  other 
parts  of  the  Short  Treatise.     They  even  regard  this  Dialogue 
as  representing  an  early  stage  in  the  history  of  Spinoza  when 
he  was  under  the  more  or  less  dominant  influence  of  Bruno. 
But  no  conclusive  evidence  has  been  adduced  so  far  to  show 
that  Spinoza  was  even  acquainted  with  Bruno's   writings. 
And  even  Sigwart  did  not  feel  sure  on  this  matter.     Mar- 
tineau  thought  that  most  of  the  resemblances  between  Bruno 
and  Spinoza  were  superficial  and  illusory.   Neoplatonic  views 
similar  to  those  of  Bruno  were  very  much  in  the  intellectual 
atmosphere  of  the  sixteenth  and  seventeenth  centuries,  and 
Spinoza   may    have   become  familiar   with    them   through 
Jewish  and   other   sources.     In   any  case,  the  resemblance 
between  Spinoza  and   Bruno  is  by  no  means  fundamental. 
Spinoza  went  far  beyond  Bruno.     Notwithstanding  all  his 
rhapsodies   on   the  infinity  of    Nature   Bruno  never  quite 
relinquished  the  idea  of  a  God  who  was  somehow  above  and 
beyond  Nature — his   God  was   still  transcendent;  Spinoza, 
on  the  Bother  hand,  never  wavered,  he  took  his  conception 
of  the  infinity  of   Nature  very  strictly,  and  following  up  its 
apparently  logical  implication  he  boldly  identified  Nature 
with  God,  and  conceived  God   as  absolutely  immanent  in 
Nature.     Avenarius  and  others,  basing  their  views  on  the 
supposed  early  date  of   this  Dialogue,  have    distinguished 
three    phases  of    Spinoza's    Pantheism.       In    all    of    them 

1 84          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

Spinoza  identified  the  three  terms,  God,  Nature,  Substance, 
by  showing  that  the  same  predicates  apply  to  each  of  them. 
But  at  different  stages,  they  say>  Spinoza  started  with  a 
different  term  for  his  datum.  In  the  first  Dialogue,  under 
the  supposed  influence  of  Bruno,  he  set  out  from  the  term 
Nature;  this  was  the  first  phase.  The  Short  Treatise  was 
supposed  to  represent  the  second  phase,  when,  under  the 
influence  of  Descartes,  he  took  his  start  from  the  term  God 
(see  chapter  i.).  Lastly,  the  Ethics  was  said  to  represent 
the  third  phase,  when,  having  attained  to  complete  inde 
pendence  and  maturity,  Spinoza  commenced  with  the  term 
Substance.  But  this  whole  conception  of  the  development 
of  Spinoza's  philosophy  is  untenable.  The  supposed  in 
fluence  of  Bruno  is  problematic.  The  first  Dialogue 
already  shows  a  knowledge  of  Descartes.  And  Spinoza's 
attitude  towards  Cartesianism  is  fundamentally  antagonistic 
both  in  the  Short  Treatise  and  in  the  Dialogues.  No  Car 
tesian  could  think  of  identifying  God  with  Nature.  So  far 
as  his  writings  show,  Spinoza  identified  God,  Nature,  and 
Substance  from  the  first,  and  seems  to  have  attached  no 
peculiar  significance  to  any  of  them  as  a  starting-point.  It 
is  true,  of  course,  as  Martineau  and  others  have  pointed  out, 
that  the  three  terms,  "though  identical  in  their  application, 
differ  somewhat  in  their  meaning  ;  under  Nature  we  are 
expected  to  think  of  the  continuous  Source  of  birth;  under 
God,  of  the  universal  cause  of  things  ;  under  Substance,  of  the 
permanent  reality  behind  phenomena."  But  that  is  another 

82,11,15.  "  Understanding" — "Reason."  Understanding 
is  hardly  the  right  word  for  what  is  meant  here  by  the 
Dutch  Verstand  =  ?  Intellectus.  "  Spirit  "  or  "  spiritual 
insight "  might  be  better  in  some  respects.  It  represents 
the  highest  form  of  knowledge,  namely,  knowledge  by  way 
of  immediate  intuition.  Reason,  on  the  other  hand,  repre 
sents  the  lower  grade  of  knowledge  by  way  of  discursive 


inference.  It  will  be  observed  that  "  Understanding  "  does 
not  argue,  but  just  delivers  its  "  immediate  apprehension  " 
(aanschouw),  and  takes  no  further  part  in  the  debate.  The 
distinction  between  Understanding  and  Reason  is  explained 
in  Book  II.  chapters  xxi.,  xxii.,  xxvi.,  and  a  knowledge  of 
this  distinction  is  evidently  assumed  in  this  Dialogue.  In 
the  opening  chapters  of  Book  II.  the  same  distinction  is 
drawn  between  Belief  and  Clear  Knowledge.  But  the 
nomenclature  in  this  Dialogue  agrees  with  that  in  the  later 

32,  17.  In  omitting  from  the  text  the  words  given  in  the 
foot-note  (p.  32)  we  have  adopted  a  suggestion  of  Freuden- 
thal,  which  makes  the  meaning  quite  clear.  All  the  words 
(except  "namely")  which  we  have  relegated  to  the  foot-note, 
also  the  words  "  we  avoid  this  absurdity  by  stating  that " 
(lines  17  /.),  are  written  in  the  margin  in  A.  All  these  mar 
ginal  additions  make  the  text  unintelligible.  Apparently  the 
words  given  in  the  foot-note  represent  some  reader's  attempt 
to  surmount  the  obscurity  caused  by  the  accidental  omission 
of  the  words  "  we  avoid  this  absurdity  by  stating  that";  but 
when  this  omission  was  rectified  the  other  additions  were 
still  retained  because  their  origin  and  significance  were 
unknown  to  the  copyist. 

32,  21  ff.  "  Desire"  here  means  "evil  desire"  =  concupi- 
scentia,  not  cupiditas.  Freudenthal  has  pointed  out  that 
the  expression  usually  employed  in  the  Short  Treatise  for 
"Desire"  is  Begeerte,  while  here  we  have  Begeerlijkheid. 
Moreover,  Spinoza's  conception  of  the  function  of  "desire" 
(cupiditas)  as  such  is  very  different  from  the  sinister  role 
which  Begeerlijkheid  plays  in  this  Dialogue. 

"  Desire "  voices  here  the  dualistic  view  of  Descartes 
that  there  are  two  kinds  of  substances  (extended  and 
thinking  substances)  which  have  nothing  in  common. 
Spinoza  combats  this  view  in  favour  of  his  own  monistic 

i86          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

32,  25.  The  insertion  of  "not"  was  suggested  by  Freuden- 
thal,  who  rightly  pointed  out  that  in  Ethics,  I.,  Definition  ii., 
and  in  Letter  IV.,  Spinoza  says  distinctly  that  "body  is  not 
limited  by  thought,  nor  thought  by  body."   Cf.  p.  237,  Def.  iii. 

S3,  3 /.  The  words  "but  this  .  .  .  nothing"  are  quite 
inappropriate  here.  Freudenthal  has  suggested  that  they 
must  be  some  reader's  marginal  comment. 

33,  16  ff.  This  outburst  of  indignation  against  "  Desire  "  is 
only  intelligible  in  the  light  of  Book  II.  chapter  xiv.  (p.  100), 
an  acquaintance  with  which  is  assumed. 

33,  24  ff.  It  is  noteworthy  that  the  later  objections  raised 
by  "  Desire"  (lines  1-13)  seem  to  be  ignored  by  "  Reason." 
But  they  are  considered  in  chapter  ii.  (pp.  25  ff.).  Possibly 
the  lines  1-13  were  not  originally  in  the  Dialogue.  A  reader 
may  have  added  in  the  margin  these  objections  which  he 
copied  from  chapter  ii.,  and  an  uncritical  copyist  may  have 
transfered  the  marginal  note  into  the  text. 

33,  26  ff.  The  relation  of  substance  to  its  attributes  is 
here  described  as  a  causal  relationship  ;  the  attributes  are 
supported  by  substance  ;  they  depend  on  it  not  logically  only, 
but  causally. 

33,  29 /.  The  attributes  are  not  actually  called  "modes" 
here  ;  their  relation  to  substance  is  simply  [compared  (for 
argument's  sake)  with  that  of  modes  to  attributes. 

34,  12.  A  "second  notion"  (notio  secunda)  is  contrasted 
with  a  "  first  notion  "  (notio  prima).     The  latter  represents 
what  things  really  are,  while  the  former  is  some  mode  of 
conceiving  things.     The  same  antithesis  was  also  expressed 
by  another  pair  of  scholastic  terms,  namely,  intentio  prima 
and  intentio  secunda.     What  the  mind  "intends"  or  appre 
hends  in  the  first  instance  is  some  concrete  reality  (say,  a 
particular  tree),  and  this  constitutes  the  "  first  intention  "  ; 
but  as  the  result  of  reflecting  on  and  comparing  such  "  first 
intentions  or  notions "  (as,  e.g.,  when  we  compare  various 
trees,  and  mentally  classify  them  into  genera  and  species, 


according  to  their  resemblances  and  differences)  we  obtain 
"  second  notions  or  intentions/'  which  do  not  directly 
represent  real  things,  but  are  so  many  ways  of  thinking 
about  them.  Of  course,  even  "  second  notions "  are  not 
altogether  "mere  ideas,"  for  they  are  grounded  in  the  real 
character  of  things. 

34,  16.  "  The  thinking  power."  The  attribute  Thought 
is  also  described  by  Spinoza  as  a  "power"  in  Letter  XXXI  I. 
(statuo  dari  in  Natura  potentiam  infinitam  cogitandi)  and  in 
the  Ethics,  II.  i.  SchoL,  and  II.  xxi.  Schol.  On  p.  120  (line  4) 
the  attribute  Extension  is  similarly  described  as  a  "power." 
The  attributes  thus  seem  to  be  conceived  here  as  so  many 
"  lines  of  force  "  in  which  God  manifests  or  reveals  Himself. 


36.  In  Dr.  W.  Meyer's  modern  Dutch  version  of  the  Short 
Treatise  the  second  Dialogue  is  appended  to  the  next  chapter. 
His  reason  will  be  considered  in  the  first  note  to  that  chapter. 
It  is  noteworthy  that  the  concluding  words  of  chapter  ii. 
(31,  1 6)  do  not  refer  to  a  second  Dialogue — they  only  refer 
to  a  Dialogue  (one,  not  two).  This,  however,  may  only 
mean  that  the  insertion  of  the  second  Dialogue  in  this  place 
was  an  afterthought.  But  it  can  hardly  be  separated  from 
the  first  Dialogue.  It  is  the  reference  to  the  distinction 
between  immanent  and  transeunt  causality  at  the  end  of 
the  first  Dialogue  that  furnishes  the  theme  of  the  second  ; 
and  the  concluding  remarks  of  the  second  seem  to  refer 
deliberately  to  the  opening  remarks  of  the  first. 

36,  3.  "  Theophilus."  This  name  (in  the  Italiam  forms 
Teofilo  and  Filoteo)  occurs  also  in  Bruno's  Dialogues  De  la 
Causa,  &c.  ;  and  in  Bruno's  Dialogues,  as  in  this,  the 
author's  own  views  are  put  into  the  mouth  of  ''  Theophilus." 
This  may  be  a  mere  coincidence,  as  the  name  would  naturally 
occur  to  a  writer  whose  moral  ideal  was  "  the  IOVQ  of  GocL" 

1 88          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

36,  6-8.  The  reference  is  to  35,  3,  and  41,  19. 

36,  9-20.  See  42,  21-24.  An  acquaintance  with  this 
passage  is  clearly  assumed. 

36,  9.  "  A  remote  cause "  is  contrasted  with  a  proximate 
cause.  The  latter  produces  its  effect  immediately,  without 
the  intervention  of  anything  else,  while  the  former  produces 
its  (remote)  effect  by  means  of  an  intervening  proximate 
cause  or  a  chain  of  proximate  causes.  The  terms  proximate 
and  remote  are  relative  to  a  given  effect ;  every  cause  might 
be  both  proximate  and  remote,  but  not  in  relation  to  the 
same  effect.  A  remote  cause  was  supposed  to  be  separated 
from,  not  in  contact  with,  its  effect.  Hence  the  difficulty 
raised  in  the  text  as  to  how  an  immanent  cause  could  also 
be  a  remote  cause. 

36,  12-16.  The  text  is  corrupt.  B  seems  to  have  substi 
tuted  "prior"  for  "remote"  on  account  of  the  difficulties 
presented  by  the  text.  The  words  which  we  have  added  in 
square  brackets  are  intended  to  suggest  the  real  meaning  of 
the  original  text,  in  accordance  with  42,  4  ff.,  and  Ethics,  I. 
xxviii.  Schol. 

36,  22  /.  See  147,  1-6. 

37,  32  /.  See  55,  12 /. 

38,  12  f.  5*0146,  27  ff. 

38,  27  /.  See  147,  16-24. 

39,  Sff.  In  his  CogitataMetaphysica,ll.x.,Spmozama'mta'ms 
that  nothing  which  has  been  created  by  God  can  be  eternal. 

39,  igff.  Cf.  Clauberg's  Logica  Vetus  et  Nova,  I.  vi.  §  62. 
"  Sol  est  causa  a  qua  conclave  illuminatur ;  sed  remotio  val- 
varum  est  CAUSA  SINE  QUA  NON  fit  illuminatio." 

40,  1-3.  See  133,  23  #. 

40,  3-7.  How  this  union  with  God  is  to  be  brought  about 
has  already  been  indicated  in  the  beginning  of  the  first 
Dialogue  (32,  4^.),  where  it  is  stated  that  the  perfection  of 
Love  depends  on  that  of  the  Understanding.  Indeed  the 
sentence  now  under  consideration  may  be  regarded  as  the 


final  reply  to  the  question  raised  there.  This  conception 
of  the  Understanding  (or  Intellect)  as  the  supreme  bond  of 
union  between  Man  and  God  is  essentially  Aristotelian,  and 
was  adopted  by  the  leading  Jewish  philosophers  of  the 
Middle  Ages,  notably  by  Maimonides  (see  the  writer's 
Aristotle  in  Medieval  Jewish  Thought).  In  his  Guide  (III.  li.) 
Maimonides  says  expressly  that  "  Man's  love  of  God  is 
identical  with  his  knowledge  of  Him";  he  also  uses  the 
expression  "  intellectual  worship  of  God,"  which  is  so  like 
Spinoza's  "  intellectual  love  of  God." 


41.  The  way  in  which  this  chapter  is  copied  in  codex  A 

is  apt  to  rouse  suspicion.     The  second  Dialogue  ends  near 

the  bottom  of  the  page,  leaving  just  about  as  much  space 

as  is  left  at  the  bottom  of  most  pages  in  that  manuscript. 

The  last  line  of  the  Dialogue  contains  the  last  two  words 

only.      Then    in   the   middle    of    the   same   line  we   have 

"Cap.  III./'  and  four  lines  of  very  small  writing  follow  to 

the  very  bottom  of  the  page.     The  next  page  shows  the 

same  small  handwriting,  which,  however,  gets  larger  towards 

the  end  of  that  page,  where  the  usual  space  is  left.     On  the 

following  page  there  are  only  five  lines  of  big  scrawl,  more 

than  half  the  page  being  left  blank.     The  concluding  five 

lines  of  chapter  iii.  are  written  on  the  next  page,  and  are 

immediately  followed,  on  the  same  page,  by  "  Cap.  IV."  The 

numeral    IV.   has   also  been   tampered  with,    so  have   the 

numbers  at  the  heads  of  several  subsequent  chapters.     And 

since  chapter  iii.  treats  of  divine  causality  generally,  while 

the  second  Dialogue  is  devoted  more  particularly  to  God's 

immanent  causality,  Dr.  W.  Meyer  holds  that  the  second 

Dialogue  was  misplaced  by  the  copyist,  and  should  really 

follow  chapter  iii.     But  with  due  deference  to  Dr.  Meyer,  it 

seems   doubtful   whether   the  facts    really   necessitate   this 



construction.  It  seems  obvious  that  chapter  iii.  was  copied 
into  A  after  chapter  iv.  (possibly  also  some  of  the  rest  of 
the  Treatise)  had  already  been  copied.  But  the  copyist  had 
evidently  left  a  space  for  chapter  iii.,  though  he  miscalculated 
the  amount  of  space  required.  It  is  known  that  Spinoza's 
manuscripts  circulated  among  his  friends  in  parts,  just  as 
they  were  completed.  Most  likely  the  copyist  of  A  had 
the  MS.  of  chapter  iv.  before  he  had  that  of  chapter  iii.,  so 
he  left  some  blank  pages  for  the  latter  and  copied  it  when 
he  got  it  afterwards.  Chapter  iii.  is  in  the  same  hand 
writing  as  the  rest  of  the  Treatise  in  A.  And  as  regards  the 
alterations  in  the  numerals  it  appears  certain  to  me  that  the 
Arabic  numerals  have  simply  been  changed  into  Roman 
ones — the  change  being  probably  made  by  the  fastidious 
Monnikhoff.  Lastly,  as  regards  the  contents  of  chapter  iii. 
and  the  second  Dialogue,  Spinoza  is  not  at  all  particular 
in  this  Treatise  about  repeating  himself,  and  the  second 
Dialogue,  as  already  shown,  has  a  point  of  contact  with  the 
first.  If  we  had  very  scrupulous  regard  to  connection  of 
content  several  of  the  chapters  of  the  Treatise  would  have  to 
be  transposed,  as,  indeed,  Dr.  Meyer  himself  has  pointed  out. 

41,  12  ff.  The  elaborate  classification  of  causes  to  which 
Spinoza  refers  in  this  chapter  is  to  be  found  in  Franco 
Burgersdijck's  Institutionum  Logicarum  Libri  Duo.  Burgers- 
dijck,  as  already  stated,  was  Professor  of  Philosophy  at 
Leyden  in  the  early  decades  of  the  seventeenth  century, 
and  his  book  on  logic,  to  judge  by  the  numerous  editions 
still  extant,  must  have  been  a  most  popular  manual. 
Several  editions  of  the  book  were  edited  by  Burgersdijck's 
successor,  Heereboord,  to  whom  Spinoza  refers  in  his  Meta 
physical  Thoughts,  II.  xii.  It  was  this  reference  to  Heere 
boord  that  Trendelenburg  used  as  a  clue  to  unravel  this 
complicated  and  somewhat  obscure  classification  of  causes. 

Though  complex,  the  classification  was  really  not  so 
fanciful  as  may  first  appear.  Substitute  "  conditions  "  for 


"  causes,"  and  the  classification  still  contains  much  that  is 
true  and  valuable.  If  by  "  cause  "  we  mean  "  the  totality  of 
conditions/'  then  there  is  no  room  for  any  such  elaborate 
classification  of  causes.  But  for  all  practical  purposes  we 
are  satisfied  to  apply  the  term  "  cause  "  to  something  very 
far  short  of  "the  totality  of  conditions/'  and  Mill  has  shown 
how  arbitrary  popular  usage  is  in  singling  out  now  this,  now 
that  condition  as  "  the  cause/'  when,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  all 
the  conditions  are  equally  necessary,  if  not  equally  striking 
or  interesting  on  different  occasions  of  the  same  kind  of 
occurrence.  It  was  according  to  this  wider  and  looser  use 
of  the  term  that  "  causes  "  were  classified  in  such  an  elaborate 
way.  The  accompanying  table  (see  next  page)  is  taken  from 
Burgersdijck's  Logic  (p.  282  of  the  London  edition  of  1651). 

In  the  accompanying  table  we  see  the  then  usual  Aristo 
telian  division  of  Causes  into  Material,  Formal,  Efficient, 
and  Final,  each  of  these  being  again  subdivided  in  various 
ways.  It  would  take  up  too  much  space  to  deal  with  all  of 
them  here.  We  are  only  concerned  with  the  eightfold 
division  of  Efficient  causes,  which  Spinoza  has  in  view  in 
the  present  chapter.  It  will  be  observed  that  Spinoza 
enumerates  them  in  precisely  the  same  order  as  they  are 
given  in  the  following  table  from  Burgersdijck's  Logic.  The 
following  definitions  are  also  taken  from  the  same  book. 

41,  15.  An  emanative  cause  is  one  which  produces  its 
effect  by  its  sheer  existence,  while  an  active  (or  acting)  cause 
is  one  which  produces  its  effect  through  the  medium  of 
some  activity  which  it  exercises.  Fire,  for  instance,  is  the 
emanative  cause  of  its  own  heat,  but  an  active  cause  of  the 
heat  which  it  imparts  to  other  things.  Spinoza  practically 
does  away  with  this  distinction  in  the  case  of  God.  "  Ema 
native  "  here  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  "  Emanation  "  theory 
of  Neoplatonism  or  Mysticism.  Spinoza  did  not  use  the 
expression  in  the  Ethics,  possibly  in  order  to  avoid  this 
suggestion  of  "  emanation." 

192          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 


"  8 

O/(C-/  ( 

/  Mater  ia  ; 
eaque  vel 

(  Prima, 
1  Secunda. 
j,  j  Rerum  Naturalium, 
1       ,,       Artificialium. 
j  jj  j  Generation!  s, 
\  Compositions. 



Forma  ; 


'  Substantiate  , 

eaque  vel 





'        /. 

'  Activa, 


II.  - 

'  Itnmanens, 

\      •«, 

III.  . 

Lib  era, 


IV.  . 

'  Per  se, 
Per  accidens. 

eaque  vel 



k  Minus  principalisl  Proegumena, 



\  VIII. 


Finis;      , 
\  isque  vel 

j  J  Cut, 
'  1  Cujus. 
jj  j  Principalis, 
\  Secundarius. 
jjj   )  Subordinatus, 
'  {  Ultimus. 


41,  19.  The  distinction  between  an  immanent  and  a  tran- 
seunt  cause  has  already  been  explained  in  the  note  to  30,  3. 

41,  22.  A  free  cause  (according  to   Burgersdijck)  is    one 
which  acts  from  deliberate  choice  ;  a  natural  (or  necessary) 
cause  is  one  which  acts  from  necessity  (causa  libera  est,  qua 
consulto — id  est,  ex  judicio  rationis — causat.    Necessaria,  qua 
non  consulto ,  sed  necessitate  naturce  causat).     This  distinction, 
however,  did  not  commend  itself  to  Spinoza.     He  employed 
these  antithetic  terms  somewhat  differently.    By  a  free  cause 
(as  will  be  seen  in  the  next  chapter)  he  meant  one  which 
acts  without  any  external  compulsion,  or  externally  imposed 
necessity.     In   this   sense  a  cause    might  be  free  although 
acting  from  necessity,  namely,  when  the   necessity  was  in 
herent  in  its  own  character,  and  not  due  to  outside  forces. 

42,  i.  A  cause  through  himself,  or  causa  per  se,  is  one  whose 
effects  are  due  to  his  or  its  own  natural  character ;  a  cause 
per  accidens  is  one  which  produces  a  certain  effect  not  as 
the  result  of  its  own  character,  but  owing  to  some  unusual 
circumstances.     Heereboord  gives  the  following  illustration. 
When  an  animal  gives  birth  to  one  of  its  own  kind  it  is  a 
causa  per  se,  but  when  it  gives  birth  to  a  monstrosity  then 
it  is  causa  per  accidens.     Burgersdijck  remarks,  with  quiet 
humour,  Ad  causam  per  accidens  revocatur  fortuna  et  casus. 

42,  4-14.  A  principal  cause  is  one  which  produces  an 
effect  by  virtue  of  its  own  powers  alone,  without  the  aid  of 
anything  else.  A  subsidiary  cause  (causa  minus  principalis) 
is  merely  one  condition  or  factor  which  is  necessary  but 
not  adequate  to  produce  a  certain  effect.  Three  kinds  of 
subsidiary  causes  were  recognised.  Spinoza  refers  to  them 
all,  but  somewhat  obscurely.  In  lines  7-9  he  illustrates  not 
the  subsidiary  cause  in  general,  but  one  special  form  of  it, 
namely,  the  instrumental  cause  (instrumentum).  Almost  any 
means  employed  in  the  production  of  an  effect  was  called  an 
instrumental  cause.  A  second  species  of  subsidiary  cause  is 
the  provoking  or  inciting  cause  (causa  procatarctica  vel  causa 

194          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

incipiens  aut  inchoans) — that  is,  any  external  thing  or  condi 
tion  which  incites  the  principal  cause  to  action.  The  third,  and 
last,  kind  of  subsidiary  cause  is  the  predisposing  cause  (causa 
proegumena),  or  some  internal  condition  which  predisposes 
a  thing  towards  a  certain  kind  of  action  or  process.  For 
instance,  if  a  man  with  a  weak  chest  becomes  very  ill  in 
consequence  of  a  cold  caught  while  in  a  draughty  place, 
then  the  draught  would  be  described  as  the  provoking  (or 
inciting}  cause,  while  hisjweak  chest  or  feeble  constitution 
would  be  the  predisposing  cause.  (Bain  made  a  somewhat 
similar  distinction,  though  of  wider  applicability,  when  he 
analysed  a  cause  into  a  "moving  power"  and  a  "colloca 
tion  of  circumstances.") 

Spinoza's  departure  from  Burgersdijck's  division  of  the 
causa  minus  principalis  is,  I  think,  explicable  by  the  fluctuat 
ing  views  of  the  text-books  on  this  point.  Clauberg  (a  copy 
of  whose  Logica  Vetus  et  Nova  Spinoza  is  known  to  have 
possessed)  divided  the  efficient  causes  into  causa  principalis 
and  causa  instrumental.  No  doubt  this  is  the  division 
which  Spinoza  had  in  view  in  lines  4-9.  On  the  other 
hand,  Keckermann  (a  copy  of  whose  Sy sterna  Logicce  was  also 
among  Spinoza's  books)  divided  as  follows  : 

[  principalis.  r 

~  rr  •  •    L  j  •  I  proegumena. 

Causa  efficiens  \  [  tmpulstva, 

.,..,,.  1  procatarctica. 

\  minus  principals.  1 

[  instrumentalis. 

This  also  gives  the  four  subdivisions  practically  in  the 
same  order  as  Spinoza  refers  to  them. 

42,  15.  A  first  cause  is  one  which  is  not  dependent  on 
(or  not  the  effect  of)  any  other  cause ;  a  causa  secunda  is 
dependent  on  a  first  cause. 

42,  17.  A  universal  cause  was  contrasted  with  a  particular 
one  as  follows.  The  latter  can  only  produce  one  kind  of 
effect ;  the  former  can  produce  different  kinds  of  effects 
by  co-operating  with  various  other  causes.  God,  according 


to  Spinoza,  may  be  described  as  a  universal  cause  in  so  far  as 
He  is  not  restricted  to  any  one  kind  of  effect,  but  not  in  the 
sense  that  He  can  co-operate  with  causes  outside  Himself. 

42,  21.  For   the  distinction  between   a   proximate   and  a 
remote  cause  see  the  note  to  36,  9. 


43.  The  theme  of  this  chapter  is  also  discussed  by  Spinoza 
in  the  Ethics,  I.  xvi.  xvii.  xxxiii.,  and  in  the  Tractatus 
Theologico-Politicus,  vi. 

43,  23  ff.  Compare  the  following  passage  from  the  Cogitata 
Metaphysica  (I.  iii.)  :  "  Since  nothing  exists  except  by  divine 
power  alone,  it  is  easy  to  see  that  those  things  which  come 
into  existence  do  so  by  virtue  of  the  decree  and  will  of  God. 
But  since  there  is  neither  inconstancy  nor  change  in  God, 
He  must  have  decreed  from  eternity  that  He  would  produce 
those  things  which  He  produces  now ;  and  as  in  order  that 
a  thing  may  exist  nothing  more  is  required  than  God's  decree 
that  it  should  exist,  it  follows  that  all  created  things  have 
been  under  an  eternal  necessity  to  be  in  existence.   Nor  can 
we  say  that  they  are  contingent  because  God   could  have 
decreed  otherwise  ;  for,  since  in  eternity  there  is  no  when, 
or  before,  or  after,  or  any  other   change  of  time,  it  follows 
that  God  did  not  exist  before  those  things  were  decreed,  to 
be  able  at  all  to  decree  otherwise."     On  the  other  hand,  in 
Cogit.  Metaph.  II.  vii.  Spinoza  says  that  "if  God  willed  it  so, 
created  things  would  have  a  different  essence." 

44,  19.    The    usual   scholastic    definition    of    Freedom. 
Burgersdijck  (Inst.  Log.  cap.  xvii.)  says  :  Causa  libera  potest 
agere  quicquid,  quantum,  et  quando  lubet.     Heereboord  (Coll. 
Eth.  p.  114 — quoted  by  Sigwart)  says  distinctly  that  most 
philosophers  denned  free-will  as  facultas  qua  positis  omnibus 
ad  agendum  requisitis  potest  agere  et  non  agere,  aut  ita  agere 
unum,  ut  contrarium  agere  possit.     Cf.  Descartes,  Med.  IV. 

196          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

46,  8.  "  This  "  =  that  God  could   not  have  made  things 
different  from  what  they  are  (see  p.  45,  19  ff.). 

46,  12-15.  This  sentence,  and  also  the  last  in  the  same 
paragraph,  appear  to  be  quite  irrelevant.      B  omits  them. 
Most  probably  they  are  only  the  marginal  comments  of 
some  reader,  and  not  a  part  of  the  original  text. 


47.  Joel  has  drawn  attention  to  similar  views  on  Provi 
dence  in  the  writings  of  Hasdai  Crescas  (The  Light  of  the 
Lord,  II.  ii.  i);  also  to  the  fact  that  Crescas,  while  treating 
of  Providence,  employs  the  same  illustration  which  Spinoza 
gives  on  p.  42,  line  8. 

47,  4-6.  This  striving  is  described,  in  the  Tractatus  Theo- 
logico-Politicus  (cap.  xvi.),  as  the  highest  law  of  Nature  (Lex 
summa  Naturce  est,  ut  unaqucequc  res  in  suo  statu,  quantum 
in  se  est,  conetur  perseverare),  and  (ibid.  cap.  vi.)  Providence 
is  identified    with  the   ordo  Nature?.     For  Spinoza's  (later) 
explanation  of  this  striving,  see  Ethics,  III.  iv.  vi.  vii. 


48.  See  Cogitata  Metaphysica,  I.  iii.,  and  Ethica,  I.  xxxiii. 
48,    3.  "  Attribute"   is  here    used   in   the    wider    sense  = 


48,  10.  "  Accidental  "  =  that  which  is  neither  necessary  nor 
impossible.  In  the  passages  referred  to  above,  Spinoza 
distinguishes  between  the  " contingent"  and  the  "  possible," 
which  may  be  regarded  as  the  two  species  of  the  "acci 
dental."  The  main  point  is  that  according  to  him  nothing 
really  is  "accidental,"  only  some  things  are  regarded  as 
accidental  on  account  of  our  ignorance  of  the  causes  or 
their  operation. 

48,  24^.  A  modal  proposition  (e.g.,  "S  is  an  accidental 
cause  ")  was  said  to  be  in  sensu  diviso  or  in  sensu  composito 
according  as  the  qualifying  expression  ("accidental") 



referred  to  the  copula  ("is")  or  to  one  of  the  terms  ("S"  or 
"cause").  See,  e.g.,  Duns  Scotus,  Qu.  super  Anal.  pr.  I.  25. 

49,  8-1 1.  The  meaning  is  clear,  though  awkwardly  ex 
pressed.  "  If  the  cause  were  no  more  compelled  to  produce 
this  or  that  than  not  to  produce  it,  then  .  .  ." 

49,  27.  The  original  wording  in  A  seems  to  have  been 
"  that  God  is  the  only  cause,  the  cause  of  all  things."  But 
this  was  subsequently  altered  by  the  copyist,  arbitrarily,  it 
would  seem,  as  the  changes  are  anything  but  an  improvement. 

49,  28-34.  £/•  Ethica,  I.  xxxii. 

49,  35  ff.   This  objection,  as  Joel  has  pointed  out,  was 
mentioned   and   dealt   with    by   Maimonides  and  Crescas. 
Maimonides  (Guide,   III.  xvi.)    ascribed   the    objection    to 
Alexander  Aphrodisiensis  (circa  200),  the  author  of  a  treatise 
On  Providence. 

50,  i^ff.  Cf.   Maimonides  (Guide,   III.  xviii.) :  "It  is  an 
established  fact  that  species  have  no  existence  except  in  our 
own   minds.     Species  and  other  classes  are  merely  ideas 
formed  in  our  minds,  while  everything  in  real  existence  is 
an  individual  object,  or  an  aggregate  of  individual  objects. 
.  .  .  It  is  wrong  to  say  that  divine  providence  extends  only 
to  the  species,  and  not  to  individual  beings,  as  some  of  the 
philosophers  teach.     For  only  individual  beings  have  real 

50,  21-27.  Compare  CogitataMetaphysica  (II.  vii.):  "What, 
indeed,  is  more  absurd  than  to  exclude  from  God's  know 
ledge  individual  things,  which  could  not  exist  for  a  moment 
without  the  concurrence  of  God  ?  And  then  they  maintain 
that  God  is  ignorant  of  actually  existing  things,  while  they 
ascribe  to  God  a  knowledge  of  universals,  which  do  not 
exist  and  have  no  essence  apart  from  that  of  the  individual 
things.  We,  on  the  contrary,  attribute  to  God  the  know 
ledge  of  individual  things,  and  not  of  universals,  except  in 
so  far  as  He  knows  human  minds." 

51, 9  ff.  The  same  illustration  occurs  in  Descartes,  Med.  VI. 

198          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 


52.  Spinoza  seems  to  refer  to  this  chapter  in  his  Tractatus 
de  Intellectus  Emendatione  (Van  Vloten  and  Land's  edition, 
1895,  vol.  i.  p.  24,  note  i). 

53,  1-6.  This  view  is  found,  for  instance,  in  Heereboord 
(Disput.  ex  Philosophia,  vol.  i.  p.  147,  quoted  by  Sigwart). 

53,  9-11.  Owing  partly  to  the  desire  to  maintain  the 
absolute  Unity  of  God  (with  which  a  multiplicity  of  attri 
butes  was  thought  to  be  inconsistent),  and  partly  from  the 
anxiety  to  avoid  comparing  God  with  man,  there  arose  in 
Arabic  and  Jewish  medieval  philosophy  a  tendency  to 
explain  away  the  attributes  usually  ascribed  to  God  (espe 
cially  in  the  Bible  and  the  Koran).  These  attributes  were 
accordingly  treated  as  having  solely  a  negative  import,  that 
is,  as  predicating  what  God  is  not  rather  than  what  He  is, 
or  as  denying  some  imperfection  rather  than  affirming  any 
(human  or  quasi-human)  characteristic  of  Him.  (Mai- 
monides,  e.g.,  sums  up  his  inquiry  into  God's  attributes  as 
follows :  "  It  has  thus  been  shown  that  every  attribute 
predicated  of  God  either  denotes  the  quality  of  an  action, 
or — when  this  attribute  is  intended  to  convey  some  idea  of 
the  Divine  Being  Himself,  and  not  of  His  actions — the 
negation  of  the  opposite."  Thus  "  we  use  One  in  reference 
to  God  to  express  that  there  is  nothing  similar  to  Him,  but 
we  do  not  mean  to  say  that  an  attribute  Unity  is  added  to 
His  essence." — Guide,  I.  Ivii.  Iviii.)  A  similar  tendency 
appeared  also  in  Christian  Scholasticism.  This  kind  of 
" negative  theology"  seems  to  have  been  started  first  by 
Philo  Judasus,  of  Alexandria,  the  founder  of  Neoplatonism. 

53,  13 /.  Spinoza  is  referring  to  Thomas  Aquinas.  See 
20,  16  ff. 

53,  i()ff.  Compare  30,  31  ff.  and  the  notes  thereto. 

54,  $ff.  Cf.  Cogitata  Metaphysica,  I.  vi.,  where  Spinoza 
says  that  "good"  and  "evil"  only  indicate  a  certain  rela- 



tion  of  one  thing  to  another.  "A  thing  considered  by 
itself  is  called  neither  good  nor  bad  ;  it  is  so  only  in  relation 
to  another  thing,  according  as  it  helps  it  to  obtain  what  it 
requires,  or  not."  Spinoza,  however,  allows  the  application 
of  " supremely  good"  to  God  on  the  ground  that  all  things 
only  exist  through  Him. 

54,  20  ff.  Cf.   Tractatus  de   Intellectus  Emendatione  (Van 
Vloten  and  Land,  ed.   1895,   vol.  i.  pp.  28  ff. — White  and 
Stirling's  translation,  pp.  51  ff.). 

55,  15 /.  Adopting  the  emendation  suggested  by  Sigwart, 
we  should  read  here  :  "  Since,  as  attributes  of  a  self-sub 
sisting    being,   they   exist    through    themselves,    they   also 
become  known  through  themselves  " — nam  quia  ut  attributa 
entis  per  se  existentis  [per  se~\  existunt,  etiam  per  se  concipi- 
untur.     This  makes  the  meaning  clearer. 

55,  20 /.  Although  the  term  genus  is  here  applied  to  attri 
bute  (because  the  attribute  here  takes  the  place  of  the  genus  in 
the  old  rule  of  definition)  it  must  not  be  forgotten  that  the 
attribute,  according  to  Spinoza,  is  not  generic,  but  singular. 

In  the  Treatise  on  the  Improvement  of  the  Understanding 
Spinoza  says  that  the  definition  of  a  created  thing  "  should 
include  the  proximate  cause,"  which  he  there  identifies 
with  the  infinite  modes  Motion  and  Understanding,  ac 
cording  as  the  finite  mode  to  be  explained  is  a  mode  of 
Extension  or  of  Thought  (vol.  i.  p.  31  in  ed.  1895). 

55,  26.  The  reference  is  to  the  Answers  to  the  first,  second, 
and  third  objections  (appended  to  Descartes'  Meditations), 
where  Descartes  maintains,  against  Sassendi,  that,  although 
we  cannot  have  a  completely  adequate  knowledge  of  God, 
we  can  have  a  clear  and  distinct  knowledge  of  some  of  His 


56.  The  distinction  between  Natura  naturans  and  Natura 
naturata  may  be  traced  back  to  Aristotle's  distinction  between 

200          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

the  Unmoved  (Mover)  and  the  Moved.  In  the  writings 
of  Augustine  (354-430)  the  Aristotelian  division  is  de 
veloped  into  a  threefold  distinction,  namely,  (i)  a  Creator 
who  was  not  created,  (2)  the  created  which  also  creates,  and 
(3)  that  which  has  been  created  but  does  not  create.  Scotus 
Erigena  added  a  fourth  distinction  (so  as  to  complete  the 
dichotomous  scheme),  namely,  (4)  that  which  neither  creates 
nor  has  been  created  (=  nothing).  Scotus  Erigena  (ninth 
century)  already  maintained  that  God  and  the  Universe  are 
identical  ;  Nature  regarded  as  a  creating  totality  being  the 
same  as  God,  while  Nature  regarded  as  a  multiplicity  of 
created  things  is  what  is  called  the  world.  This  mode  of 
thought  was  developed  more  fully  by  Averroes  (1126-1198), 
the  chief  of  the  Arabian  Aristotelians. 
56,  3-11.  Cf.  Ethics,  I.  xxix.  Schol. 

56,  12  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  I.xxviii.  Schol.,  where  the  division  of 
Natura  naturata  into  "  general  "  and  "  particular  "  is  replaced 
by  that  into  things  produced  by  God  "  immediately "  and 
"  mediately." 


57,  2-8.  Probably  for  the  reasons  stated  in  lines  7,  8,  Un 
derstanding  and  Motion  are  referred  to  in  the  Treatise  on 
the  Improvement  of  the  Understanding  as  res  fix&  et  ceternce. 
They  are  also  commonly  referred  to  as  the  u  infinite  modes." 
Cf.  Letter  LXIV. 

57,  18,  20.  It  seems  strange  that  Motion  should  be  de 
scribed  as  a  "  Son  of  God."  But  its  correspondence  or 
parallelism  with  Understanding,  in  Spinoza's  scheme,  com 
pelled  him  to  predicate  of  Motion  whatever  he  affirmed  of 
the  Understanding  by  way  of  epithets  indicating  position  in 
the  scheme.  And  to  describe  Understanding  as  the  "  Son  of 
God  "  was,  of  course,  Biblical — i  Cor.  i.  24  :  Christ  the  power 
of  God,  and  the  wisdom  of  God.  It  was,  no  doubt,  with 
reference  to  this  Scriptural  passage  that  Spinoza  wrote  in 


Letter  LXXIII. :  "  I  do  not  think  it  at  all  necessary  for  one's 
salvation  to  know  Christ  according  to  the  flesh;  but  as 
regards  the  eternal  Son  of  God,  that  is,  God's  eternal 
wisdom,  which  has  manifested  itself  in  all  things,  especially 
in  the  human  mind,  and  most  of  all  in  Christ  Jesus,  one 
must  think  otherwise.  For  without  this  no  one  can  attain  to 
a  state  of  bliss,  because  it  alone  shows  what  is  true  or  false, 
good  or  evil." 

57,2i.  The  expression  " created  .  .  .  from  all  eternity" 
amounts  to  a  denial  of  " creation"  in  its  usual  sense. 
Spinoza  makes  this  quite  clear  in  Cogitata  Metaphysica, 
II.  x. :  "  Neither  was  the  Son  of  God  created,  He  was  eternal 
like  the  Father.  When,  therefore,  we  say  that  the  Father 
had  begotten  the  Son  from  eternity,  we  only  mean  that  the 
Father  has  always  shared  His  eternity  with  the  Son." 

57,  23-27.  It  is  not  certain  whether  this  note  was  written 
by  Spinoza,  to  whom  it  refers  in  the  third  person  as  "  the 
author  " — quite  a  unique  form  in  Spinoza's  writings.     The 
information  conveyed  is  accurate  in  so  far  as  Spinoza  did 
occupy  himself  with,  and  intended  to  write  on,  the  most 
general  problems  of  Physics.     We  gather  this  from  Letters 
LIX.,  LX.,  LXXXIII.     But  the  note  seems  quite  irrelevant. 
Apparently  it  refers  to   some  remark  in    the    text   which 
was  subsequently  struck  out. 

58,  6.  "Affects."     The  Dutch    is    Aandoeningen,  which 
may  be  a  too  literal  translation  of  Affectus.     The  usual  ex 
pression  is  passien  or  tochten. 


59.  Entia  Rationis  and  Entia  Realia.     See  note  to  28,  6. 

59,  ii  ff.  Spinoza's  criticism  of  the  terms  "good"  and 
"  evil  "  is  different  in  different  parts  of  this  Treatise.  On 
p.  51  (lines  4-15) — also  in  Cog.  Metaph.  (I.  vi.),  in  the  Tract, 
de  Intel.  Emend.,  and  in  the  Ethics  (Appendix  to  Part  I.) — the 

202          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

criticism  turns  on  the  implication  of  purpose.  On  the  same 
page  (lines  i6ff.)— also  in  Letter  XIX. — the  criticism  turns 
on  the  implied  comparison  of  individual  things  with  general 
ideas.  In  the  passage  now  under  consideration — also  in 
Ethics,  IV.  Ixv. — the  criticism  turns  on  the  relative  or 
relational  character  of  the  terms  "  good  "  and  "  evil." 

59,  28  ff.  The  concluding  paragraph  of  the  chapter  looks 
suspicious.  The  force  of  the  additional  argument  is  not 
obvious.  Nor  is  there  anything  like  its  trend  of  ideas 
elsewhere  in  Spinoza.  Sigwart  is  accordingly  inclined  to 
regard  it  as  an  interpolation  by  a  disciple  of  Spinoza. 



63.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.,  the  opening  sentences,  and  propositions 
x.  and  xi. 

63,  12  ff.  This  long  addition  was  most  probably  not  meant 
to  be  a  "  note  "  at  all,  and  seems  to  be  misplaced.  See  the 
comment  on  chapter  i.  The  different  parts  of  this  long 
note  may  be  compared  with  Spinoza's  other  utterances  as 
follows:  i.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.  x.  ;  3.  cf.  Ethics,  II.  i. ;  4.  cf. 
Ethics,  I.  xxx.,  II.  iii.  iv.  ;  6-8.  cf.  Ethics,  II.  xiii.  (to  the  end 
of  Lemma  i.) ;  9.  cf.  Ethics,  II.  xi. ;  10-12.  cf.  Ethics,  II. 
Lemma  iii.-vii. ;  13.  cf.  Ethics,  II.  xii.  xiv. ;  14.  cf.  Ethics, 
IV.  xxxix.  15.  This  part  of  the  note  is  not  really  essential, 
and  is  in  any  case  inaccurate.  The  contrast  required  is  that 
between  union  with  substances  and  union  with  modes  ;  that 
given  is  between  union  with  thought  and  union  with  exten 
sion,  both  of  which  are  substances  in  the  looser  sense — that 
is,  "  attributes  of  substance."  Probably  this  part  of  the  note 
was  not  written  by  Spinoza  in  its  present  form. 

64,  i.  See  pp.  21  ff. 


66,  1-5.  According  to  the  reservation  here  made,  God  or 
Substance  is  no  part  of  the  nature  of  man,  because  although 
man  could  not  be,  or  be  conceived  without  God,  yet  God 
could  well  be,  and  be  conceived  without  man.    Cf.  Ethics,  II., 
Definition  ii.,  and  prop.  x. 


67.  The  opening  words  of  this  chapter,  also  the  opening 
and  concluding  remarks  of  the  Preface  (p.  63,  lines  6ff.,  and 
p.  66,  lines  $ff.\  lead  one  to  expect  an  exposition  of  "the 
modes  of  which  man  consists."  What  is  actually  considered 
in  this  chapter  is  the  three  kinds  of  knowledge,  while  "the 
modes  of  which   man  consists "  are  discussed  in  the  long 
note  to  the  Preface  (pp.  63  ff.)     Freudenthal  has  therefore 
suggested  the  following  explanation.     Originally  chapter  i. 
did  treat  of  "  the  modes  of  which  man  consists."     But,  dis 
satisfied  with  that  first  account,  Spinoza  wrote  a  new  exposi 
tion  to  replace  or  to  supplement  it.     Owing,  however,  to 
some  misunderstanding  of  reference  signs  the  copyist  or 
translator  treated  the  new  exposition  as  a  note  to  the  Pre 
face,  omitting  at  the  same  time  the  older  account,  which 
Spinoza  had  probably  crossed  through,  or  marked  in  some 
way  as  unsatisfactory.     Note  f  seems  to  be  a  feeble  attempt 
on  the  part  of  a  reader  or  copyist  to  reconcile  the  opening 
words  with  the  actual  contents  of  the  chapter. 

67,  7  /.  The  meaning  is  clear,  namely,  the  modes  to  be 
considered  first  are  the  modes  of  thought,  because  these  are 
known  or  experienced  more  immediately  than  the  modes  of 
extension  (i.e.,  material  objects,  including  human  bodies), 
our  knowledge  of  all  modes  of  extension  being,  of  course, 
included  among  the  modes  of  cognition.  The  language, 
however,  is  rather  obscure.  What  is  "the  consciousness  of 
the  knowledge  of  ourselves  "  ?  It  has  been  suggested  by 
Freudenthal  that  the  original  Latin  may  have  been,  "  Incipi- 
amus  ab  Us  qui  primi  nobis  cogniti  sunt,  scilicet  a  quibusdam 

204          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

ideis  vel  a  cognitione  nostri  et  delude  agamus  de  rebus  qua 
extra  nos  sunt,"  and  that  "  cognitione  nostri"  was  (like  so 
many  other  expressions  in  the  Treatise)  translated  twice  over 
by  "  medegeweten  "  (translated  "  consciousness  ")  and  "  ken- 
nisse,"  and  the  whole  misconstrued.  In  accordance  with  this 
plausible  emendation  we  should  read  here  :  ".  .  .  certain 
ideas  or  our  knowledge,  and  then  we  shall  treat  of  the  things 
which  are  outside  us." 

67,  ioff.  Here  we  have  a  threefold  classification  of  the 
different  kinds  of  knowledge,  which  is  developed  into  a  four 
fold  scheme  by  subdividing  the  first  kind  of  knowledge.  In 
chapter  ii.  the  distinction  between  the  two  subdivisions  of 
the  first  kind  of  knowledge  is  passed  over,  while  it  is  empha 
sised  in  chapter  iv.  (76,  17  ff.).  In  the  Tractatus  de  Intel- 
lectus  Emendatione  (pp.  7  ff.)  we  find  the  fourfold  scheme, 
while  in  the  Ethics,  II.  xl.  Schol.  2,  Spinoza  returns  to  the 
threefold  scheme.  The  special  stress  laid  on  the  fourfold 
scheme  in  the  Tr.  de  Int.  Em.  (as  Gebhardt  has  suggested) 
was  probably  due  to  the  influence  of  Bacon.  Indeed,  the 
name  of  the  second  kind  of  knowledge  (or  of  the  second 
subdivision  of  what  is  here  the  first  kind),  namely,  perceptio 
ab  experientia  vaga,  occurs  in  Bacon's  Novum  Organum,  I.  c. 
In  a  note  in  the  Tr.  de  Int.  Em.  (p.  9)  Spinoza  promises  a 
fuller  account  of  "  experience,"  and  of  the  methods  of 
"recent  empirical  philosophers/'  The  reference  is  most 
probably  to  Bacon,  from  whose  estimate  of  experience 
Spinoza  differed,  maintaining  (as  against  Bacon)  that  "  it  is 
something  altogether  uncertain,  ...  by  means  of  it  the 
accidents  only  of  natural  things  are  apprehended,  and  they 
are  never  clearly  understood  without  a  previous  knowledge 
of  their  essences  "  (ibid.). 

67,  ii.  The  first  kind  of  knowledge  (in  the  threefold 
scheme)  is  here  called  "belief,"  but  in  chapters  ii.  and  iv. 
(and  elsewhere)  "  opinion."  The  Latin  was  probably  the 
same  in  all  cases,  namely,  opinio.  In  English  also  "  belief' 


is  sometimes  used  for  "  opinion  "  ;  e.g.,  "  I  am  not  sure,  but 
that  is  my  belief "  (or  "  I  believe  so"). 

67,  13.  The  second  kind  of  knowledge,  here  called  "true 
belief"  (on  p.  69,  line  14,  simply  "Belief"),  is  described  on 
p.  74,  line  19,  as  "a  strong  proof  based  on  reasons."  The 
distinction  between  "  Opinion"  and  "True  Belief"  there 
fore  recalls  the  Platonic  (or  even  pre- Platonic)  distinction 
between  £o'?a  and  £7rt(rr?//Aiy. 

"Belief"  (or  "true  belief")  seems  a  strange  designation 
for  reasoned  or  discursive  knowledge.  Spinoza  himself 
substituted  "Reason"  afterwards  (see,  e.g.,  p.  99,  line  16 — 
"  True  Belief  or  Reason  ").  Joel,  however,  has  pointed  out 
that  Crescas  employed  the  term  "  Belief "  in  the  same  sense. 
The  expression  "  true  belief "  may  have  been  suggested  by 
the  following  passage  from  Maimonides'  Guide  (I.  1.) : 
"  Belief  ...  is  the  conviction  that  what  is  apprehended 
exists  outside  the  mind  exactly  as  it  is  conceived  in  the 
mind.  If  in  addition  we  are  convinced  that  the  thing 
cannot  be  different  in  any  way  from  what  we  believe  it 
to  be  ...  then  the  belief  is  true." 

67,  14.  Sigwart  has  pointed  out  that  the  distinction 
between  what  is  here  called  "clear  and  distinct  concep 
tion"  (or  immediate  intuition)  and  "true  belief"  (or 
discursive  reasoning)  is  also  found  in  Descartes  (especially 
in  the  Regiila  ad  directionem  ingenii,  which,  however,  was 
only  published  in  1701,  and  was  therefore  unknown  to 
Spinoza).  But  Descartes  laid  no  such  stress  on  the  dis 
tinction,  and  also  conceived  it  rather  differently.  Descartes' 
"  immediate  intuition  "  was  mathematical  in  character  and 
referred  to  the  apprehension  of  the  truth  of  certain  proposi 
tions,  especially  the  cogito  ergo  sum ;  Spinoza's  "clear  and 
distinct  knowledge"  is  mystical  in  character,  and  referred 
to  the  apprehension  of  objects,  especially  of  God. 

67,  15-17.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.  xli. 

67,  25  ff.  See  the  first  comment  on  this  chapter. 


206          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

The  three  foot-notes  on  this  page,  and  the  first  three  foot 
notes  on  p.  68,  are  most  probably  marginal  notes  or  sum 
maries  made  by  some  reader  of  the  MS.  from  which  A 
was  copied. 


69,  22  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  IV.  Appendix,  §  iii.:  "Our  actions,  that 
is  to  say,  those  desires  which  are  determined  by  man's  power 
or  reason,  are  always  good  ;  the  others  may  be  good  or 
evil."     Cf.  also  Ethics,  III.  iii. 

"  Passion"  (7rd6o$  =  passio,  affectus,  or  perturbatio)  was  used 
in  the  time  of  Spinoza,  and  even  later,  in  a  much  wider  sense 
than  at  present.  It  denoted  not  the  violent  emotions  only, 
but  all  feelings,  sentiments,  and  desires,  as  so  many  ways  in 
which  the  mind  "suffers"  or  "is  affected"  by  external  things. 

69,26ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.  Axiom  iii.:  "Such  modes  of 
thought  as  love,  desire  ...  do  not  arise  unless  there  is 
also,  in  the  same  individual,  an  idea  of  the  thing  loved, 
desired,  &c.  But  the  idea  may  be  there  even  when  no 
other  mode  of  thought  is  present." 

The  view  that  "  knowledge  is  the  proximate  cause  of  all 
the  passions"  is  opposed  to  the  Cartesian  view,  according 
to  which  the  passions  "  are  produced,  sustained,  and 
strengthened  by  some  movement  of  the  animal  spirits" 
(De  Passionibus  Animcz,  I.  27).  Spinoza  assigns  a  purely 
mental  origin  to  the  passions,  while  Descartes  ascribed 
them  in  large  measure  to  physiological  causes. 


70.  In   his  treatment  of  the   passions  in   this   and  the 
following  chapters  Spinoza  follows  closely  Descartes'  order 
of  exposition  in  hisDe  Passionibus  Anima,  Parts  II.  and  III. 
(This  was  already  noticed  by  Boehmer  when  he  published 
the  Outline  of  the  Short  Treatise.)    The  following  tables  (see 
opposite)  (taken,  with    slight  changes,  from  Sigwart)  will 
make  this  clear. 







§§69-148.   Admiratio 

Ch.  iii.     Admiratio 


,,     v.       Amor 


,,    vi.      Odium  (Aversio) 


,,     vii.    Cupiditas 


,,      ,,      Lcetitia 


,,      ,,      Tristitia 


§§  149-152.   Existimatio      et     De- 

,,     viii.  Existimatio  et  Contemptus 


„    153-156.   Generositas  et  Humi 

,,      ,,      Generositas  (?),  Humilitas 


,,    157-161.   Superbia  et  Humilitas 

,,      ,,      Superbia,  Abjectio 


,,    161-164.    Veneratio     et    Dedig- 


„   165.            Spes  et  Metus 

„     Ix.     S/tes  ^  Metus 

„    1  66.            Securitas  et  Desperatio 

,,      ,,      Securitas  ,  Desperatio 

„    167-169.   Zelotypia 

,  ,    170.            Animi  fluduatio 

,,      ,,      Animi  fluctuatio 

„   171.            Animositas  et  Audacia 

,,      „      Intrepiditas  et  Audacia 

„    172.            &  mulatto 

,,      ,,      ALmulatio 

,,   174—176.  Pusillanimitas  et  Con- 

,,      ,,      Pusillanimitas,  Zelotypia 


,,    177.            Consdentice  morsus 

,,     x.      Consdentice  morsus 

„    178-181.  Irrisio  et  Jocus 

,,     xi.     Irrisio  et  Jocus 

,,   182-184.  Invidia 

,,      ,,      Invidia 

,  ,    186-189.    Commiseratio 

„    xiv.  Desiderium 

„    190.            Acquiescentia      in     se 


,,   191.            Pcenitentia 

,,      ,,      Pcenitentia 

,,    192.             Favor 

,,     xiii.  Favor 

,,    193,  194.   Gratitudo   et   Ingrati- 

,,      ,,      Gratitudo  et  Ingratitudo 


,  ,    195-203.  Indignatio  et  Ira 

,,      ,,      7ra,  Indignatio 

,,   204—206.   Gloria  et  Pudor 

„     xii.    Honor  et  Pudor 

,  ,   207.            Impudentia 

,,      ,,      Impudentia 

„    209.             Desidenum 

208          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

As  regards  details,  there  are  numerous  important  dif 
ferences  between  Spinoza's  and  Descartes'  views  on  the 

lQ,8ff.  Spinoza's  account  of  "  surprise"  is  original. 
Descartes  simply  described  it  as  evoked  by  "  things  rare 
and  extraordinary,"  but  he  did  not  explain  it. 

70,  28  ff.  The  concluding  part  of  the  note  seems  to  be 
directed  against  the  view  that  Surprise  is  evoked  chiefly 
by  what  is  absolutely  new.  But  the  thought  is  expressed 

72,  20  ff.  Spinoza's  account  of   Hatred  is  very  different 
from  that  of  Descartes  (op.  cit.  II.  79). 

73,  4  /.  The  account  here  given  of  Desire  is  reversed  in 
Ethics,  III.  ix.  SchoL,  where  it  is  maintained  that  we  do  not 
"  desire  anything  because  we  think  it  is  good,  but,  on  the 
contrary,  we   judge  a  thing  to  be  good  because  we  ... 
desire  it." 


74,  9/.  In  geometry,  e.g.,  we  reason  that  such  and  such  a 
figure  must  have  such  and  such  properties  ;  but  we  do  not 
prove  thereby  that  such  a  figure  actually  exists. 

74,  19  ff.  The  meaning  of  "  Belief  "  here  (as  already 
remarked)  is  peculiar.  Equally  peculiar  is  the  use  here 
made  of  the  term  "  Knowledge  "  (  =  spiritual  intuition),  and 
the  way  in  which  "  Belief "  and  "  Knowledge "  are  con 
trasted.  Joel  has  drawn  attention  to  parallel  passages  in 
the  writings  of  Crescas,  two  of  which  may  be  given  here. 
In  words  very  like  lines  19-21  Crescas  says  that  "  Belief  is 
only  the  conviction  resulting  from  the  necessity  of  the  case 
that  the  thing  outside  the  soul  is  such  as  it  is  represented  to 
be  in  the  soul."  In  contrast  to  Belief,  clear  Knowledge  is 
described  by  Spinoza  (in  lines  25,  30 /.  and  elsewhere)  as 
an  "immediate  union  "  with  and  "  intellectual  enjoyment" 
of  what  is  thus  known.  Crescas  distinguishes  between 


Belief  and  another  form  of  knowledge  as  follows  :  "  We 
accept  some  views  from  a  feeling  of  (logical)  necessity, 
others  with  a  feeling  of  joy  and  gladness.  Our  Bliss 
depends,  not  on  Belief,  but  on  the  joy  which  accompanies 
Knowledge.  For  .  .  .  only  joy  can  unite  us  with  God" 
(The  Light  of  the  Lord,  II.  v.  5,  quoted  by  Joel). 

75,  13 /.  The  assertion  referred  to  is  not  found  in  the 
Treatise.  Apparently  some  part  containing  such  a  state 
ment  has  been  lost. 

75,  23  ff.  Cf.  the  comments  on  I.x.  (p.  201  /.).    Cf.  Ethics, 
IV.,  Preface,  Def.  i.  and  ii.,  and  Appendix,  §  v. 

76,  6/.  Spinoza  may  be  referring  to  the  first  chapter  of 
his  Cogitata  Metaphysica,  which  is  entitled  De  Ente  Reali, 
Ficto,   et  Rationis,   which   was   probably   written   already, 
though  the  whole  work  of  which  it  forms  a  part  was  not 
completed  and  published  till  1663. 

76,  26  ff.  The  new  point  of  view  is  noteworthy.  So  far 
the  passions  were  judged  by  the  kind  of  knowledge  which 
produced  them ;  we  now  observe  a  new  criterion,  namely, 
the  character  of  the  objects  which  are  loved,  &c. 

lit  3ff*  This  brief  and  somewhat  peculiar  treatment  of 
"  surprise  "  almost  prepares  one  for  its  subsequent  exclusion 
from  the  class  of  "affects  "(or  passions)  in  Ethics,  1 1 1.  (Def.  iv. 
of  the  Affects).  It  is  possible,  however,  that  originally  this 
chapter  was  followed  by  one  on  "  Surprise." 


78.  Love,  it  should  be  noted,  is  here  distinguished 
according  to  the  character  of  its  objects,  not  according  to 
the  kind  of  cognition  from  which  it  results,  which  was  the 
mode  of  procedure  suggested  at  the  beginning  of  chapter  iii. 
(p.  70).  Descartes,  it  may  be  remarked,  rather  disparaged 
any  such  distinctions  based  on  the  character  of  the  objects 
loved  (De  Pass.  An.  11.82). 

210          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

78,  15 /.  "God,  or  ...  Truth."  C/.  p.  103,  line  16— God 
is  Truth,  Truth  is  God.  Because  by  "Truth"  Spinoza 
means  "the  real  essence  of  things  as  thought"  (Martineau). 

78,  I7/.  According  to  this,  love  is  always  "intellectual." 
Descartes  had  distinguished  between  amor  intellectualis  and 
amor  sensitivus,  the  latter  of  which  was  supposed  to  be  due 
entirely  to  physiological  causes. 

78,  20  ff.  In  the   Tractatus   Theologico-Politicus,  cap.  xvi., 
Spinoza  speaks  of  it  as  "  a  universal  law  of  human  nature  " 
that  we  can  only  relinquish  what  we  think  good  in  one  of 
the  two  ways  stated  here. 

79,  8ff.  This  explanation  of  love  appears  to  be  original ; 
it  is  not  in  Descartes. 

80,30-32.  One  would  expect  "...  God  alone  is  a 
substance  .  .  ."  The  Dutch  is  weezen  (essence),  weezens 
(essences),  wezen  (entity). 

81,  i$ff.  On  the  "intellectual  love  of  God"  (Amor  Dei 
intellectualis)  see  Ethics,  V.  xxxii./. 


82,  3/.  This  definition  of  Hatred  is  restricted  on  the  next 
page  (lines  8^.)  so  as  to   exclude  the  inanimate  and  the 
irresponsible  from  its  objects.     On  p.  72  (lines  2O/.)  we  had 
yet  another  account,  from  a  different  point  of  view.     In 
Ethics,  III.  (xiii.  Schol.,  also  Def.  vii.  at  the  end  of  the  Book) 
Hatred  is  defined  even  more  widely  than  here,  namely,  as 
"sorrow  with  the  accompanying  idea  of  its  external  cause"  ; 
while   in   IV.  xlv.   Schol.   it   is   restricted    again  so   as  to 
exclude  all  but  human  beings  from  its  objects. 

83,  i6ff.  Here  things  which  are  the  "accidental"  causes 
of  injury  are  excluded  from  among  the  objects  of  "  aver 
sion";    in  Ethics,  III.  Def.  ix.  of  the  Affects,  aversion  is 
defined  as  "sorrow  with  the  accompanying  idea  of  some 
object  as  the  accidental  cause  of  the  sorrow." 

83,  20^.  Here  "sorrow"  is  described  as  an  effect  of 
hatred,  &c. ;  in  the  above  definitions  (from  the  Ethics) 


hatred  and  aversion  are  described  as  species  of  sorrow. 
We  thus  seem  to  have  here  an  identification  of  causa 
proxima  with  genus  proximum.  Cf.  p.  199. 

83,  21.  Anger  is  accordingly  denned  in  Ethics,  III. 
Def.  xxxvi.,  as  "the  desire  by  which  we  are  impelled, 
through  hatred,  to  injure  those  whom  we  hate." 

83,  24.  Envy   is   defined   in   Ethics,    III.    Def.   xxiii.,  as 
"  hatred  in  so  far  as  it  affects  a  man  so  that  he  is  sad  at 
the  good  fortune  of  another  person,  and  is  glad  when  some 
evil  befalls  him." 

84,  5/.  Cf.  Ethics,  IV.  xviii.  Schol.  ("  Homini  igitur  nihil 
homine  utilius"),  xxxv.  Corol.  i.,  and  xxxvii. 

84,  i6ff.  Cf.  Ethics.  IV.  xlv. 


85.  "Joy  and  Sorrow"   are  used  in  a  very  wide  sense, 
almost  as  the  equivalents  of  "  Pleasure  and  Pain."     They 
play  a  more  important  role  in  the  Ethics  than  they  do  here. 

85,  8.  "  The  same  causes" — that  is,  the  idea  that  a  certain 
thing  is  good. 

85,  12  /.  The  definition  here  given  of  Sorrow  is  the  same 
as  that  of  Grief,  on  p.  99,  lines  5  /.  In  the  Ethics  (III. 
Def.  iii.  of  the  Affects)  Sorrow  (Tristitia)  is  defined  as  "  man's 
transition  from  greater  to  lesser  perfection."  Descartes 
had  defined  it  as  the  effect  of  a  present  evil. 

85,  17  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  IV.    xli.,  where    Spinoza   says    that 
Joy  is  in  itself  good,  and  Sorrow  evil,  because  Joy  increases 
the  body's  power  of  action,  while  Sorrow  diminishes  it. 

86,  2  /.  Cf.  Tract,  de  Int.  Em.  (p.  5),  where  Spinoza  says 
that  strife,  hatred,  sorrow,  jealousy,  and  other  evil  passions 
arise  from  the  love  of  the  transient  only,  "  but  love  for  an 
object  eternal  and  infinite  feeds  the  mind  with  unmixed  joy." 
Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xx. 

86,  7.  Reminiscent  of  Psalm  xvi.  n  : 

In  thy  presence  is  fulness  of  joy, 

In  thy  right  hand  there  are  pleasures  for  evermore. 

212          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 


87,7-9.  In  the  Ethics  (III.  Def.  Aff.  xxi.  xxii.)  Existi- 
matio  and  Despectus  are  conceived  so  as  to  contain  an 
element  of  bias.  Existimatio  (over-esteem)  "  consists  in  think 
ing  too  highly  of  some  one  in  consequence  of  our  love  for 
him  ;  Despectus  "  consists  in  thinking  too  little  of  some  one 
in  consequence  of  our  hatred  against  him." 

87,  10.  "  Self-respect."  The  Dutch  is  Edelmoedigheid, 
which  generally  means  "noble  bearing"  or  "  generosity." 
Generositas,  however,  is  defined  in  Ethics,  III.  lix.  Schol.,  as 
"  the  desire  by  which  from  the  dictates  of  reason  alone  each 
person  endeavours  to  help  other  people  and  to  join  them  to 
himself  in  friendship."  This  is  very  unlike  what  is  described 

87,  18.  "Conceit"  (Verwaantheid)  =  Superbia  (Ethics,  III. 
Aff.  Def.  xxviii.),  "  undue  self-esteem  prompted  by  self- 

87,  20.    "  Culpable    humility  "    (strafbare    nedrigheid)  = 
?  Abjectio,  which  is  defined  in  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xxix.,  as 
"  thinking  too  little  of  oneself,  through  sorrow." 

88,  6  ff.    In    the   Ethics    (IV.    liii.)    Spinoza     says    that 
"  Humility  is  not  a  virtue,"  because  the  rational  man  should 
think  of  what  he  can  do,  not  of  what  he  cannot  do.     More 
over,  Humility  is  a  species  of  sorrow,  and  sorrow  is  always 
bad.     Apparently  the  good   side  of   "  true   humility "   has 
been  joined  to  "  self-respect  "  to  constitute  acquiescentia  in 
se  ipso,  the  contentment  resulting  from  a  just  estimate  of 
one's  powers. 

88,  32.  Scepticism  had  a  certain  vogue  in  the  time  of 
Spinoza,  and  rationalist  philosophies  were  often  confounded 
with  it.  Hence  philosophers  like  Bacon,  Descartes,  and 
Spinoza  felt  it  necessary  to  break  a  lance  with  Scepticism  so 
as  to  make  it  clear  that  they  were  no  Sceptics.  In  the  Tract, 
delnt.  Em.  (p.  14)  Spinoza  remarks  of  the  Sceptics  :  "They 


say  that  they  know  nothing  ;  and  they  say  that  even  this, 
namely,  that  they  know  nothing,  they  also  do  not  know  ; 
nor  can  they  say  even  that  much  absolutely  :  for  they  are 
afraid  to  admit  that  they  exist,  seeing  that  they  know 
nothing  ;  they  should  really  be  dumb,  lest  perchance  they 
suggest  something  that  may  savour  of  truth.  .  .  .  They 
must  consequently  be  regarded  as  automata,  altogether 
devoid  of  mind."  Further  on  (p.  24)  he  dismisses  such 
Scepticism  as  "  belonging  to  an  inquiry  on  obstinacy  "  rather 
than  to  an  inquiry  on  Method. 

89.  10  /.  Namely,  that  God  is  the  highest  and  worthiest 
object  of  our  esteem,  as  of  our  love  (p.  81,  line  13  ff.). 


90,  12  ff.  The  way  in  which  Spinoza  here  divides  the 
passions  appears  to  be  original. 

90,  27.  In  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xii.,  Hope  is  defined  as 
ft  an  inconstant  joy  arising  from  the  idea  of  something  future 
or  past  about  the  issue  of  which  we  have  some  doubt."     Cf. 
also  Ethics,  III.  xviii.  Schol.  2. 

91,  2.  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xiii. :  "  Fear  [metus,  nottimor]  is 
a  wavering  sorrow  arising  from  the  idea  of  something  future 
or  past  about  the  issue  of  which  we  have  some  doubt."     Cf. 
III.  xviii.  Schol.  2. 

91,  3  ff.  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xiv. :  "Confidence  is  joy 
arising  from  the  idea  of  something  future  or  past  concern 
ing  which  all  cause  for  doubt  has  been  removed." 

91,  8/.  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xv.  :  "  Despair  is  sorrow 
arising  from  the  idea  of  something  future  or  past  concerning 
which  all  cause  for  doubt  has  been  removed." 

91,  23  ff.  "Vacillation  of  mind  "  is  treated  from  a  different 
point  of  view  in  the  Ethics  (III.  xvii.  Schol.,  xxxi.),  where 
it  is  described  as  the  result  of  loving  and  hating  the  same 
thing  at  once,  or  (Aff.  Def.  xlii.)  from  a  choice  of  evils. 

214          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

91,  27  ff.  Ethics,  III.  li.  Schol.  :  "  I  will  call  that  man  brave 
(intrepidum)  who  despises  an  evil  which  I  usually  fear." 
Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xl.  :  "  Boldness  (Audacia)  is  a  desire 
by  which  one  is  incited  to  do  something  perilous  which  his 
fellows  fear  to  attempt."  The  Dutch  terms  are  moed 
(line  27),  kloekmoedigheid  (line  28),  and  dapper heid  (line  29). 

91,  30  ff.  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xxxiii.:  " Emulation  consists 
in  feeling  a  desire  for  something  because  we  imagine  that 
others  have  the  same  desire." 

91,33  ff.  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xli.  :  "  Pusillanimity  [or 
Cowardice]  is  attributed  to  one  whose  desire  [to  do  some 
thing]  is  checked  by  the  fear  (timor)  of  a  danger  which  his 
fellows  are  not  afraid  to  face." 

92,  i.  Ethics,  III.  li.  Schol. ;  "  The  man  who  fears  an  evil 
which  I  usually  despise  will  appear  timid  "  (timidus). 

92,  2.  "Jalousie"  is  given  in  the  MSS.  as  the  (French) 
equivalent  for  "Belgzucht"\  apparently  the  translator  was 
not  sure  how  to  translate  zelotypia.  According  to  Ethics,  III. 
xxxv.  Schol.,  Jealousy  is  "a  vacillation  of  mind  arising  from 
a  feeling  of  both  love  and  hatred  [for  a  certain  object], 
accompanied  by  the  idea  of  another  person  who  is  hated 
[because  he  has  supplanted  us]." 

92,  8ff.  On  Hope,  Fear,  and  their  effects,  see  Ethics,  IV. 
xlvii.   Ixiii.  ;   on  Confidence  and    Despair,  Ethics,  III.  Aff. 
Def.  xv. 

93,  10.  "  Boldness."     The  Dutch  is  "  Stoutheid." 


94,  5  ff.  Remorse  (Knaging)  is  conceived  somewhat  dif 
ferently  in  the  Ethics  (III.  Aff.  Def.  xvii.),  where  it  (Con- 
scientice  morsus)  is  defined  as  "  sorrow  accompanied  by  the 
idea   of   something   past   which   happened    unexpectedly " 
(?  contrary  to  expectations).     This  is  Disappointment  rather 
than  Remorse.     Verrassing  (rashness,  line  5)  usually  means 


94,  7 /.  Repentance  (Berouw).  In  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def. 
xxvii.,  Pcenitentia  is  defined  as  "  sorrow  accompanied  by  the 
idea  of  something  done,  which  we  believe  that  we  did  by  a 
free  decision  of  the  mind." 

94,  i&ff.  The  definitions  of  "Remorse"  and  "  Repent 
ance  "  given  here  (in  the  Short  Treatise)  are  the  same  as 
those  given  by  Descartes  (De  Pass.  An.  III.  177,  191).  But 
Spinoza's  estimate  of  them  is  altogether  opposed  to  that  of 
Descartes,  who  considers  remorse  "  useful "  as  tending  to 
make  people  more  cautious  in  future,  and  repentance  as 
"most  useful"  because  leading  to  an  improvement  in 
conduct.  In  Ethics,  IV.  liv.  Schol.,  Spinoza  makes  a  note 
worthy  concession.  "  If  men  impotent  in  mind  .  .  .  were 
ashamed  of  nothing,  and  feared  nothing,  how  could  they  be 
united  or  restrained  ?  The  mob  inspires  fear  when  it  feels 
none.  No  wonder,  therefore,  that  the  Prophets,  who  were 
concerned  about  the  welfare,  not  of  the  few,  but  of  the  com 
munity,  commended  Humility,  Repentance,  and  Reverence 
so  greatly.  And  indeed  those  who  are  subject  to  these 
feelings  can  be  led  much  more  easily  than  others,  so  as  to 
live  eventually  by  the  guidance  of  Reason,  that  is,  to  be  free, 
and  live  the  life  of  the  blessed." 


95.  Cf. Ethics,  III.  Hi.  Schol. :  "Derision  (Irrisio)  springs 
from  our  contempt  for  a  thing  which  we  hate  or  fear,  Scorn 
(Dedignatio),  from  the  contempt  of  folly." 

95,  5  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  IV.  1.  Schol.  :  "  He  who  knows  rightly 
that  all  things  follow  from  the  necessity  of  the  divine  nature, 
and  come  to  pass  according  to  the  eternal  laws  and  rules 
of  Nature,  will  forsooth  find  nothing  deserving  of  Hatred, 
Laughter,  or  Contempt."  (Cf.  George  Eliot:  "To  under 
stand  everything  would  be  to  pardon  everything.") 

95,  15.  This  was  probably  directed  against  the  view  of 

216          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

Descartes  (De  Pass.  An.  III.  180)  that  a  judicious  use  of 
derision  might  diminish  vice  by  making  it  appear  ridiculous. 

95, 18  /.  Cf.  Ethics,  IV.  liii.  Schol. :  "  I  see  a  great  difference 
between  Derision  (which  ...  I  stated  to  be  bad)  and 
laughter.  For  laughter,  and  jesting  (jocus)  likewise,  is  sheer 
Joy  ;  and  is  therefore  good  in  itself,  provided  it  be  not 
excessive.  Nothing,  surely,  but  a  gloomy  and  sad  super 
stition  forbids  enjoyment." 

95,  22.  "  Spirits."  The  allusion  is  to  the  spiritus  animates, 
the  vital  or  animal  spirits.  The  doctrine  of  spiritus  animates 
is  found  already  in  the  writings  of  the  ancient  Stoics  and 
the  medieval  Scholastics,  but  was  developed  more  fully  by 
Descartes.  Harvey's  discovery  of  the  circulation  of  the 
blood  encouraged  Descartes  in  the  working  out  of  his  con 
ception  of  the  automatic  character  of  animal  organisms. 
His  dualism— that  is,  his  view  that  mind  and  body  were 
entirely  different  substances  which  could  not  directly  in 
fluence  each  other — made  it  necessary  for  him  to  explain 
all  physiological  processes  by  the  principles  of  mechanics. 
The  human  body  was  accordingly  regarded  by  him  as  a 
cleverly  contrived  machine,  all  the  parts  of  which  (heart, 
lungs,  brain,  nerves,  muscles,  &c.)  co-operated,  or  acted  on 
each  other,  through  the  mediation  of  the  blood  which  circu 
lated  all  over  the  body.  Now  in  passing  through  the  heart 
the  blood  (it  was  said)  becomes  heated,  its  finest  particles 
thereupon  separate  from  the  coarser  ones,  and  rise  to  the 
brain,  while  the  rest  of  the  blood,  which  is  too  thick  for  the 
arteries  leading  to  the  brain,  circulates  through  the  other 
parts  of  the  body.  It  was  this  very  fine  part  of  the  blood, 
which  alone  had  access  to  the  brain,  that  Descartes  called 
"spirits"  (spiritus  or  esprits  animaux  =  spiritus  animates). 
Moreover,  he  regarded  the  "  pineal  gland  "  in  the  brain  to 
be  the  "  seat"  of  the  Soul,  and  (deviating  from  the  require 
ments  of  his  dualistic  philosophy^  he  maintained  that  the 
soul  could  influence  the  body,  not  indeed  by  setting  in 


motion,  but  by  directing  the  motion  of  the  "  vital  spirits,"  in 
the  same  way,  say,  as  a  horseman  directs  the  movements  of 
his  horse,  which  is  not  thereby  carried  by  him,  but  actually 
carries  him.*  Descartes  endeavoured  to  minimise  this  in 
fringement  against  his  dualism  by  attenuating  the  material 
aspect  of  his  "  spirits  "  as  much  as  possible.  In  the  Discourse 
on  Method,  v.,  he  says  that  "  the  animal  spirits  are  like  a  very 
subtle  wind,  or  rather  a  very  pure  and  vivid  flame."  They 
play  a  very  important  role  in  his  explanation  of  the  passions. 
Spinoza  was  opposed  to  this  causal  mingling  of  the  mental 
with  the  physical,  which  he  criticised  severely  in  his  Ethics 
(Preface  to  Part  V.).  And  this  same  difference  of  attitude 
constitutes  a  fundamental  difference  between  Spinoza's  and 
Descartes'  account  of  the  "  passions." 

95,  22  /.  Because   such   laughter  is  only  a  physiological 
process,  not  a  mental  process  or  feeling. 

95,25.  "Indignation  is  hatred  towards  those  who  have 
injured  others  "  (Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xx.),  and  "  is  necessarily 
evil"  (IV.  li.  SchoL). 


96.  "  Glory."  The  Dutch  Eere  generally  means  "  honour," 
and  this  will   do  if  understood   in   the   sense  of  "feeling 
honoured  "  ;  but  "  honour  "  is  too  ambiguous  to  stand  alone. 
The  definition  given  of  it  here  agrees  with  that  of  Gloria  in 
Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xxx.,  and  although  "  Glory  "  is  not  a  very 
satisfactory  rendering,  it  has  the  merit  of  suggesting  the 
Latin  original. 

96,  20  ff.  Spinoza  opposes  the  view  of  Descartes  (De  Pass. 
An.  III.  206)  that  Glory  and  Shame  tend  to  encourage  virtue, 
the  one  through  fear,  the  other  through  hope.  In  the  Ethics 
(IV.  Iviii.)  Spinoza  allows  that  "  Glory  [as  distinguished  from 

*  This  view  has  been  ascribed  by  L.  Robinson  (Archiv  f.  Gesch.  d.  Phil. 
xix.),  not  to  Descartes,  but  to  the  Cartesian  Regius.  The  illustration  is, 
of  course,  inaccurate,  if  pressed  closely. 

2i8          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

"vainglory"]  is  not  opposed  to  reason,  and  may  even  spring 
from  it "  ;  and  (IV.  Appendix,  §  xxiii.)  that "  Shame  also  helps 
towards  concord,  though  only  as  regards  such  things  as 
cannot  be  concealed." 

97,  ii  ff.  When  Descartes  refers  to  the  good  side  of  Glory 
and  Shame  he  means  "  good  for  the  person  who  has  these 
feelings."  Spinoza  here  makes  a  very  different  suggestion, 
namely,  how  such  a  person  may  thus  be  enabled  to  do 
good  to  others,  who  might  otherwise  not  come  under  his 

It  is  interesting  to  compare  Spinoza's  "philosophy  of 
clothes"  with  what  his  biographers  relate  of  him.  Lucas 
(the  earliest  biographer  of  Spinoza)  says  that  Spinoza  him 
self  was  always  careful  to  be  dressed  neatly  when  he  went 
out,  and  strongly  condemned  deliberate  negligence,  saying, 
"  It  is  not  a  dirty  and  negligent  appearance  that  makes  one 
learned."  Colerus,  on  the  other  hand,  relates  that  Spinoza 
was  dressed  no  better  than  one  of  the  meanest  citizens  ;  that 
a  certain  eminent  Councillor  of  State  while  visiting  Spinoza 
one  day  found  him  in  a  slovenly  morning-gown,  and  when 
blamed  for  it  Spinoza  replied  that  "  a  man  is  not  made  better 
by  having  a  finer  gown,"  and  that  "  it  is  unreasonable  to 
wrap  up  things  of  little  or  no  value  in  a  precious  cover  " 
(see  Pollock's  Spinoza,  2nd  ed.  p.  394).  The  two  accounts 
are  not  necessarily  incompatible. 


98.  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xix. :  "Favour  is  love  towards 
one  who  has  done  good  to  another";  xxxiv.  :  "Gratitude 
(Gratia  or  Gratitudo)  is  the  desire  or  endeavour  of  love  with 
which  we  try  to  do  good  to  one  who  from  a  similar  feeling 
of  love  has  conferred  some  benefit  on  us." 

Spinoza  here  opposes  the  view  of  Descartes,  who  (De  Pass. 
An.  III.  194)  considered  gratitude  "always  virtuous  as  one 


of  the  chief  bonds  of  human  society."  In  the  Ethics  (IV.  li.) 
Spinoza  says  that  "  Favour  is  not  opposed  to  reason,  but 
may  agree  with  it,  and  arise  from  it"  ;  and  (IV.  Ixxi.)  that 
"  only  those  who  are  free  are  most  grateful  to  one  another." 


99.  Ethics,  III.  Aff.  Def.  xxxii. :  "  Grief  (Desiderium)  is  the 
desire  or  longing  to  possess  something,  which  [desire]  is 
fostered  by  the  memory  of  the  thing,  and  at  the  same  time 
restrained  by  the  memory  of  other  things  which  exclude  the 
existence  of  the  thing  longed  for." 

99,  15  ff.  This  was  most  probably  meant  to  be  a  new 
chapter,  dealing  with  the  feelings  generally  from  Spinoza's 
own  peculiar  point  of  view. 

99,  16.  Note  the  equivalence  of  "True  Belief"  and 
"  Reason."  Cf.  p.  74,  note. 

99,  i8/.  Spinoza  here  repeats  his  protest  against  the  Car 
tesian  view  that  the  passions  are  determined  by  the  move 
ments  of  the  "  vital  spirits."  Cf.  p.  69,  line  26 /. 

99,  20  ff.  This  is   also  in  opposition  to  Descartes,  who 
denied  that  the  soul  had  any  direct  control  over  the  passions 
(De  Pass.  An.  I.  45).     Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xx.  Schol. :  "  The  power 
of  the  mind  is  determined  solely  by  knowledge,  while  its 
impotence  or  passion  is  measured  solely  by  the  privation 
of  knowledge  "  ;  and  the  knowledge  of  God  (Spinoza  adds) 
enables  us  to  reduce  the  passions  to  a  minimum,  if  not  to 
destroy  them. 

100,  5/.  According  to  Descartes  (ibid.  III.  211),  "all  pas 
sions  are  by  nature  good";    it  is  only  their  abuse  that  is 

100,  ii  ff.  Cf.  Tract,  de  Intel  Emend,  (p.  5) :  "  All  happiness 
or  unhappiness  depends  on  this  alone,  namely,  on  the  kind 
of  object  to  which  we  are  attached  by  love.  For  on  account 
of  that  which  is  not  loved  no  strife  will  ever  arise,  there  will 

220          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

be  no  sorrow  if  it  perishes,  no  jealousy  if  it  is  possessed  by 
another,  no  fear,  no  hatred,  and,  in  a  word,  no  mental  com 
motion  ;  all  which  arise,  indeed,  when  we  love  what  is 
perishable.  .  .  .  But  love  for  an  object  eternal  and  infinite 
feeds  the  mind  with  unmixed  joy." 

100,  29  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xx.  Schol. :  "  Love  towards  an 
object  immutable  and  eternal  "  "  can  always  become  greater 
and  greater,  and  occupy  the  greatest  part  of  the  mind,  and 
affect  it  through  and  through." 


102,  6  ff.  Truth  and  Falsity  are  similarly  defined  in  Cog. 
Metaph.  I.  vi.,  and  in  Ethics,  I.  Ax.  6.  In  the  Tract,  de  Intel. 
Emend,  (p.  1 1  /.),  however,  a  different  view  of  Truth  appears, 
in  which  no  reference  is  made  to  "agreement  "  or  "  corre 
spondence  "  with  things.  To  have  a  true  idea  is  to  have 
objective  the  essentia  formalis  of  the  thing  thought  about 
(the  ideatum).  This  view  is  developed  also  in  Ethics,  II. 
xxxiv.,  &c.,  where  "true"  ideas  are  identified  with  "ade 
quate  "  ideas,  "  false  "  ideas  with  "  inadequate  "  ones.  Cf. 
Ethics,  II.  xliii. 

102,  10  ff.  Cf.  Descartes,  Med.  III.  (Veitch,  p.  118)  :  "With 
respect  to  ideas,  if  these  are  considered  only  in  themselves, 
and  are  not  referred  to  any  object  beyond  them,  they  cannot, 
properly  speaking,  be  false  ;  for,  whether  I  imagine  a  goat 
or  a  chimera,  it  is  not  less  true  that  I  imagine  the  one  than 
the  other." 

102,  15.  Descartes  (Princ.  Phil.  I.  Ix.-lxii.— Veitch,  pp. 
219  ff.)  speaks  of  three  kinds  of  Distinctions,  namely,  real, 
modal,  and  logical.  A  real  distinction  is  that  between  two 
substances  ;  a  modal  distinction  is  "  that  between  the  mode 
properly  so  called  and  the  substance  of  which  it  is  a  mode, 
or  that  between  two  modes  of  the  same  substance";  while 
a  logical  distinction,  or  a  distinction  of  reasonf  "is  that 


between  a  substance  and  some  one  of  its  attributes  ...  or 
between  two  such  attributes  of  a  common  substance,  the 
one  of  which  we  essay  to  think  without  the  other  " — "  for 
example,  duration  is  distinct  from  substance  only  in  thought 
(ratione),  because  a  substance  which  ceases  to  endure  ceases 
also  to  exist."  Similarly  Spinoza — see  p.  237. 

102,  20 /.  This  question,  it  may  be  noted  at  once,  is  not 
answered  in  this  chapter,  but  in  the  next  (p.  no,  lines  1-5). 
Most  probably  the  passage  containing  the  answer  was 
intended  to  come  at  the  end  of  this  chapter. 

102,  23  /.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.  xliii.  Schol. :  "  Just  as  light  reveals 
both  itself  and  the  darkness,  so  truth  is  the  standard  of  itself 
and  of  the  false  "  (sicut  lux  seipsam  et  tenebras  manifestat,  sic 
veritas  norma  sui  et  falsi  est).     Compare  also  Tr.  de  Intel. 
Em.  (p.  n)  :  "To  be  sure  of  a  truth  no  sign  is  necessary, 
only  just  the  possession  of  the  true  idea :  for,  as  we  have 
shown,  in  order  that  I  may  know,  it  is  not  necessary  for  me 
to  know  that  I  know." 

103,  12  ff.  The  same  thought  recurs  in  the   Tr.  de  Intel. 
Em.  (p.  15),  where  it  is  even  more  evident  that  Spinoza  is 
thinking  of  Descartes,  who  (Med.  III. — Veitch,  p.  99)  made 
the  occurrence  of   dreams   a  ground  for  his  preliminary 

103,  16.  See  the  note  to  78,  15  (p.  210). 

103,  18-21.  The  falsity  of  an  idea,  according  to  Spinoza,  is 
not  due  to  any  positive  element,  but  to  the  "  inadequacy  " 
or  fragmentariness  of  the  idea;  the  true  or  "adequate" 
idea  is  therefore  richer,  or  has  more  essence,  than  the  false 

103,  23.  The  word  verstaan,  or  the  verb  intettigere,  is 
active,  not  passive. 

103,  24.  The  expression  "  passivity  "  must  not  be  taken  too 
literally  here.  The  explanation  which  follows  immediately 
seems  to  suggest  that  what  Spinoza  meant  was  simply  that 
the  sequence  of  our  ideas  is  not  due  to  any  arbitrary  volition 

222          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

on  our  part,  but  is  necessary.  It  is  true  that  the  sentence 
beginning  line  26  appears  to  suggest  a  kind  of  sensationalist 
view,  namely,  that  the  things  outside  us  produce  the  ideas  in 
us ;  and  there  are  similar  passages  in  chapters  xvi.  and  xix. 
(see  p.  109,  lines  2  ff.,  and  p.  123,  lines  29  /.).  On  the  other 
hand,  the  explanation  of  error  in  chapter  xvi.  (p.  1 10,  lines  i  ff.) 
shows  a  very  different  view  of  human  knowledge,  a  view 
more  like  that  explained  in  the  Ethics,  where  he  insists  on  the 
spontaneity  of  ideation,  in  opposition  to  the  view  that  ideas 
are  "  dumb  pictures  on  a  tablet  "  (II.  xlix.  Schol.).  Possibly 
Spinoza  may  have  been  thinking  of  the  immanent  necessity 
in  the  sequence  of  our  ideas  or  judgments.  And  in  the 
case  of  immanent  causality  the  usual  distinction  between 
activity  and  passivity  disappears.  See  what  he  actually  says 
on  p.  30,  lines  8-14.  It  is,  of  course,  quite  easy  to  suppose 
that  Spinoza's  theory  of  knowledge  went  through  a  com 
plete  change — that  he  began  by  conceiving  knowledge  to 
be  merely  passive,  and  ended  by  regarding  it  as  eminently 
active.  But  the  easier  interpretation  is  not  always  the  more 
accurate  one.  What  Spinoza  really  intended  to  oppose  was, 
I  think,  the  Cartesian  conception  of  judgment  as  an  arbi 
trary  act  of  volition  (Med.  IV.).  On  p.  109,  lines  6  ff.,  Spinoza 
seems  to  be  dealing  expressly  with  this  view  of  Descartes. 
(For  a  discussion  of  this  problem  see  Trendelenburg, 
Freudenthal's  Spinozastudien,  and  Gebhardt.) 

104,  i  ff.  The  sentence  in  brackets  presents  some  difficulty. 
The  Dutch  is  "  (ah  door  weinige  of  minder  toevoeginge  in 
[B  :  toevoegingen  van  dien~\  't  zelve  gewaar  wordende)."  The 
word  "toevoeginge"  seems  hardly  appropriate  in  any  case. 
Sigwart  translates  it  "  Affectionen,"  Schaarschmidt  "  An- 
regungen."  This  is  quite  plausible,  inasmuch  as  "toevoe- 
gen "  is  used  for  "  addressing  some  one,"  and  it  may 
accordingly  be  rendered  by  "stimuli."  This  translation, 
however,  makes  the  word  in  in  A  wrong,  while  the  sentence 
in  brackets  is  a  mere  repetition  of  what  precedes.  But  as 


"  toevoegen  "  literally  means  "  to  add,"  it  seems  quite  pos 
sible  that  "  toevoeginge "  may  have  been  a  rather  clumsy 
translation  of  attributa  or  accidentia  in  the  wider  sense  of 
" qualities."  If  so,  the  passage  can  be  rendered  thus  :  "(as 
becoming  aware  of  it  only  through  a  few  or  the  less  im 
portant  of  the  attributes  in  it  [or  "of  its  attributes"])." 
Dr.  W.  Meyer  has  paraphrased  this  passage  in  the  same 
way,  taking  toevoeging  as  =  toeeigening,  or  attribute. 


105.  According  to  Freudenthal  this  chapter  is  misplaced. 
The  substance  of  one  part  of  it — namely,  p.  109,  line  21,  to 
p.  1 10,  line  8 — should  have  been  given  at  the  end  of  chapter  xv., 
ascontainingthe  answer  to  thequestion  raised  on  p.  102,  lines 
20 /.  But  the  rest  of  the  present  chapter,  and  also  chapters 
xvii.  and  xviii.,  should  follow  chapter  xx.  For  chapter  xix. 
deals  with  the  question  "  wherein  the  well-being  of  a  perfect 
man  consists,"  and  chapter  xvi.  (p.  105,  line  4)  assumes  that 
the  question  has  already  been  dealt  with.  Per  contra,  chapter 
xix.  seems  to  assume  an  immediately  preceding  discussion 
on  the  advantages  of  "  true  belief,"  and  such  a  discussion  is 
found  in  chapter  xv.  As  chapters  xix.  and  xx.  obviously  go 
together,  they  should  both  follow  chapter  xv. ;  and  be 
followed  by  chapters  xvi.-xviii.  So  rearranged,  the  con 
nection  of  ideas  would  be  as  follows  :  the  discussion  of 
truth  and  falsity  (or,  briefly,  of  knowledge)  serves  as  an 
introduction  to  chapters  xix.  and  xx.,  where  it  is  shown  that 
knowledge  is  the  cause  of  the  passions,  but  that  these  may 
be  mastered  by  a  knowledge  of  God.  This  raises  the  ques 
tion  discussed  in  chapters  xvi.  and  xvii.,  namely,  whether  such 
a  self-emancipation  from  the  passions  is  the  effect  of  volun 
tary  effort,  or  the  necessary  result  of  inevitable  causes.  And 
chapter  xviii.  (which,  according  to  Freudenthal,  originally 
concluded  the  whole  Treatise)rounds  off  the  whole  discussion 

224          GOD>  MAN»  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

with  a  consideration  of   the    moral   value  of   the  highest 

105,  10.  Desire  :  see  p.  73,  lines  4  ff.  In  Ethics,  III.  ix. 
Schol.,  Desire  is  defined  as  "appetitus  cum  ejusdem  con- 
scientia,"  and  appetitus  as  "  ipsa  hominis  essentia,  e%  cujus 
natura  ea,  qucz  ipsius  conservationi  inserviunt,  necessario 
sequuntur"  ;  in  short  (III.  Aff.  Def.  i.),  Desire  denotes  "all 
the  strivings,  impulses,  appetites,  and  volitions  of  man." 

107,  iff.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.  xlviii.  and  xlix. 

108,  i.  "Idea" — that   is,   a   general    idea  or   abstraction 
derived  from  particular  acts  of  volition. 

108,  7.  "  This  "  =  "  that  it  is  unnecessary  to  ask  whether 
the  will  is  free."  The  opening  of  this  paragraph  in  A  is 
somewhat  obscure.  B  is  much  clearer  (see  lines  32  ff.). 

108,  i6ff.  This  was  a  common  doctrine  among  medieval 
philosophers  ;  it  is  found  in  the  writings  of  Thomas  Aquinas, 
Peter  Lombard,  and  others.   Scaliger,  e.g.,  says  :  "  Conservatio 
est  qucedam  veluti  perpetua  generatio"  (Exerc.  31,  quoted  by 
Freudenthal  in  Sp.  u.  d.  Schol.).     The  same  thought  is  also 
found  in  Crescas.     Cf.  Descartes,  Med.  III. 

109,  6  ff.  Spinoza    is    probably    referring    here    to    the 
Cartesian  view  that  to  have  an  idea  is  one  thing,  to  make 
an  affirmation  or  denial  about  it  is  another  and  depends  on 
our  free  will.     Spinoza  identifies  volition  with  affirmation 
and  denial,  but  denies  that  it  is  free.     The  ideas  necessitate 
certain  affirmations  or  denials.     Thinking  is  thus  identified 
with  judging.     Cf.  Ethics,  II.  xlix.  Schol. 

109,  16.     "  Feel  "=  ?  sentimus,  apprehend. 
109,  21  ff.  See  note  to  p.  102,  line  20  (p.  221). 


^.  Spinoza's  reference  to  the  Aristotelian  distinc 
tion   between   /SoJArjo-/?   (voluntas),   and   tTriOvjULia   (voluptas) 


is  most  probably  based  on  Scholastic  accounts.  In  DC 
Anima,  III.  ix.,  Aristotle  distinguishes  within  the  conative 
faculty  (TO  6/o£/cn/coV=  Spinoza's  cupiditas,  line  12)  rational 
desire  ({3ov\r)cri$)  from  irrational  desire  (tTriOvjuLia),  and 
this  distinction  recurs  also  in  III.  x.  and  in  the  Rhetoric, 
I.  x. 

112,  19  ff.  Spinoza's  attitude  towards  the  Aristotelian  view 
is  not  expressed  clearly.  Since  Spinoza  identifies  volition 
with  affirmation  and  negation  and  Aristotle  with  desire, 
they  really  mean  different  things,  although  they  use  the 
same  term  (will).  This  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  the 
sentence  in  question. 


115,  10  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.  xlix.  Schol. 
Trendelenburg  has  pointed  out  that  in  Plato's  Euthyphron 

man  is  similarly  described  as  the  slave  of  God.  There  is  a 
vast  difference,  however.  In  Plato's  dialogue  it  is  only 
"  the  ministration  called  holiness "  (that  is,  sacrificing  and 
praying  to  the  Gods,  as  distinguished  from  Justice,  which  is 
service  to  men)  that  is  described  as  "  of  the  same  nature  as 
that  which  slaves  render  to  their  master."  Spinoza  is  not 
thinking  at  all  of  such  restricted  "  divine  service,"  but  of  the 
whole  life  and  conduct  of  man. 

116,  26  ff.  Probably  an  allusion  to  i  John,  iv.  13  :  "  Hereby 
know  we  that  we  dwell  in  Him,  and  He  in  us,  because  He  hath 
given  us  of  His  spirit."     This  verse  was  subsequently  put 
by  Spinoza  on  the   title-page  of  his  Tractatus  Theologico- 

117,  i  ff-  Cf.  Burgersdijck  (Inst.  Log.  cap.  xvii.)  :  "  Instru- 
mentarum  essentia   posita   est  in   aptitudine  ad   usum.  .  .  . 
Sic  securis  eatenus  securis  est,  quatenus  materice  qualitate  et 
forma  apta  est  adsecandum." 

226          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

117,  12  ff.  Cf.  Browning's  Last  Ride  Together;  or  Tenny 
son's  Wages: 

"  Glory  of  Virtue,  to  fight,  to  struggle,  to  right  the  wrong- 
Nay,  but  she  aimed  not  at  glory,  no  lover  of  glory 

Give  her  the  glory  of  going  on,  and  still  to  be. 

She  desires  no  isles  of  the  blest,  no  quiet  seats  of  the 

To  rest  in  a  golden  grove,  or  to  bask  in  a  summer 

sky : 
Give  her  the  wages  of  going  on,  and  not  to  die." 


118.  According  to  Freudenthal  this  chapter,  and  the 
next,  should  have  been  placed  immediately  after  chapter  xv. 
See  the  first  note  to  chapter  xvi.  (p.  223). 

118,  26 /.  Allusion  to  Romans  iii.  20^.  :  "  By  the  works 
of  the  law  shall  no  man  be  justified  in  His  sight :  for  through 
the  law  cometh  the  knowledge  of  sin.  But  now  apart  from  the 
law  a  righteousness  of  God  hath  been  manifested  .  .  .  even  the 
righteousness  of  God  through  faith  in  Jesus  Christ  unto  all 
them  that  believe;  .  .  .  being  justified  freely  by  His  grace 
through  the  redemption  that  is  in  Christ  Jesus."  See  Intro 
duction,  p.  cxxvi. 

118,  30 /.  "  Know  and  enjoy."     Probably  a  reminiscence 
of  Biblical  language,  as  in  Psalm  xxxiv.  8  :  "0  taste  and  see 
that  the  Lord  is  good." 

119,  18$.  It  was  on  account  of  Descartes'  initial  scep 
ticism  that  Spinoza  felt  it  necessary  to  prove  the  existence  of 
material  bodies.     "  A  body  "  =  Extension,  or  Matter. 

119,  27^.  This  paragraph  appears,  at  first  sight,  to  be 
directed  against  Occasionalism — the  view,  namely,  that  our 
perception  of  a  body  is  produced  in  our  mind  by  the  direct 


action  of  God  on  the  "  occasion  "  of  the  presence  of  such  a 
body.  But  there  is  no  other  evidence  of  Spinoza's  acquaint 
ance  with  Occasionalism.  It  maybe  that  Spinoza  was  only 
thinking  of  the  "  omnipotent  demon "  who,  as  Descartes 
suggested  (Med.  I).,  might  be  deluding  us  with  fancies  of 
apparently  material  bodies.  The  context,  dealing  as  it 
does  with  Descartes'  scepticism,  seems  to  me  to  confirm 

119,  34.  The  reference  to  the  "  first  chapter  "  seems  to  be  in 
accurate.   The  passage  to  which  reference  is  made  is  supposed 
to  show  that  there  is  nothing  outside  God  (and  that,  therefore, 
no  such  demon  can  exist).     This  is  done,  not  in  the  first 
chapter,  but  in  the  first  Dialogue  (also  in  chapter  ii.  Book  I.). 

120,  i  ff.  In  various  parts  of  the  Short  Treatise,  but  espe 
cially  in  this  chapter  and  the  next,  Spinoza  deals  with  the 
relation  between   mind  and  body.     Only  indirectly,  how 
ever,  or  incidentally — for  his  main  inquiry  is  ethical,  not 
psychological,  in  character.     It  is  regrettable  that  he  did 
not  discuss  the  problem  for  its  own  sake,  because  in  that 
case  he  would  have  expressed  his  views  more  clearly  and 
consistently  than  he  has  done  in  these  incidental  discussions 
which  originated  on  different  occasions,  and  had  different 
aims.     As  it  is,  we  seem  to  have  here  several  different  views 
on  the  relation  between  mind  and  body.     And  as  we  have 
no  independent  knowledge  of  the  chronological  orders,  or 
of  the  geological  formation  (so  to  say)  of  the  parts  of  the 
Treatise,  it  is  impossible  to  speak  with  absolute  confidence 
of  the  actual  order  or  sequence  among  these  views.      It 
seems  reasonable,  however,  to  suppose  that  their  logical 
order  is  also  more  or  less  representative  of  their  chrono 
logical  sequence.     His  final  view,  we  take  it,  was  what  has 
since  become  familiar  as  that  of  psycho-physical  parallelism. 
This  view  is  the  one  adopted  in   the  Ethics,  though   with 
occasional  lapses.     The  other  views  may  be  regarded  as 
leading  up  to  this  one. 

228          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

Now,  in  the  first  place,  do  body  and  mind  interact  ?  In 
some  passages  the  view  expressed  or  implied  is  that  they  do. 
Body  acts  on  mind  (p.  103,  lines  26  ff. ;  112,  26  ;  119,  7  ff.  ; 
122,  26  ff.  ;  129,  I5/.,  &c.);  and  mind  acts  on  body,  or,  at 
all  events,  the  soul  can  move  its  own  body  (129,  6  /.),  and 
through  it  also  other  bodies  (130,  12  ff.).  In  other  passages, 
however,  this  view,  apparently,  of  direct  interaction  is  con 
siderably  modified,  if  not  denied.  The  mind,  we  are  told, 
cannot  affect  even  its  own  body,  except  through  the  media 
tion  of  the  "  vital  spirits,"  whose  movements  it  cannot  ini 
tiate  or  terminate,  but  only  control  or  direct  (121,  2  ff.,  28  ff.  ; 
127,  10  ff.)  ;  nor  can  body  act  directly  on  mind  without 
the  intervention  of  "  vital  spirits"  (122,  4  #.)•  And  this, 
of  course,  is  the  Cartesian  view  (see  note  to  95,  22 — p.  216). 

Spinoza,  however,  was  not  satisfied  with  this  solution. 
After  all,  the  "  vital  spirits  "  were  physical,  and  one  might 
just  as  well  suppose  that  mind  can  interact  with  body  as  with 
them.  We  find,  accordingly,  a  new  solution  of  the  problem. 
Mind  and  body  can  affect  each  other,  because  they  are  mere 
modes  of  one  and  the  same  whole,  or  substance  (127,  34^.  ; 
121,  9  ff.).  This  answer  may  have  suggested  yet  another 
point  of  view  from  which  the  problem  itself  disappeared. 

So  far  the  reality  of  interaction  of  some  sort  was  assumed, 
the  problem  being  to  explain  it.  And  Spinoza  tried  to  do 
so,  first  by  invoking  "  spirits,"  and  then  by  his  conception 
of  a  "  whole,"  in  which  mind  and  body  were  most  intimately 
united.  The  ultimate  "  whole,"  according  to  Spinoza,  is 
Substance,  of  which  Extension  and  Thought  are  co-attri 
butes.  These  stand  in  no  causal  relationship  to  each  other; 
they  are,  so  to  say,  collateral  expressions  of  the  same  reality; 
the  one  does  not  cause  the  other,  but  simply  is  the  other 
— that  is,  another  or  parallel  aspect  of  the  same  reality. 
Similarly,  mind  and  body  are  really  one  whole,  merely  a 
double-faced  mode  of  substance  ;  mind  does  not  affect 
body,  nor  body  mind  ;  the  one  simply  is  the  other — that  is, 


a  parallel  aspect  of  the  same  reality.  So  there  is  really 
no  interaction — and  no  problem.  This  view  is  expressed, 
though  not  adequately,  in  the  passage  now  under  con 
sideration  (pp.  120,  121  ;  cf.  Ethics,  II.  vii.  and  III.  ii.). 

The  theory  of  psycho-physical  parallelism,  first  enunciated 
by  Spinoza,  did  not  receive  the  attention  which  it  merited 
until  some  two  centuries  afterwards,  but  has  held  its  ground 
since  then  as  the  favourite  working-hypothesis  among 
psychologists.  (For  a  fuller  account  see  Freudenthal, 
Ueber  die  Entwicklung  der  Lehre  vom  psychophysischen  Paral- 
lelismus  bei  Spinoza.) 

120,  4.  "  Power  "—cf.  the  note  to  34,  16  (p.  187). 

120,  12  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.  xiii. 

120,  21  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  II.  Lemma  iii.,  and  III.  ii. 

120,  22.  "Rest"  (fipwia)  was  regarded  by  Aristotle  (De 
Ccelo,  II.),  not  as  the  mere  absence  of  motion,  but  as  its 
positive  contrary;  that  is  to  say  (in  more  modern  language), 
not  as  the  mere  absence  of  energy  of  motion,  but  as  the 
presence  of  energy  of  position.     This  positive  conception 
of  "rest"   is  also  found  in  Descartes'  Principia,   II.;   in 
Med.j  III.,  however,  Descartes  speaks  as  though  "  rest "  were 
the  mere  absence  of  motion,  as  darkness  is  of  light.     Note  t 
(p.  120)  may  have  been  directed  against  this  suggestion. 

121,  12  ff.  Cf.  p.  69,  lines  26$.,  and  p.  158,  lines  2  ff. 
121,  23.  See  p.  78,  lines  20  ff. 

124,3.  "  Object  "  =  object  of  thought.  The  sentence  is 
awkwardly  expressed,  but  the  meaning  is  clear. 


126,  18.  "Their  form  .  .  ."     The  Dutch  is  haar,  which 
generally  means  "  their,"  but  is  used  by  Spinoza  also  for 
the  singular.     If  translated  by  "  its,"  the  reference  would 
be  to  the  body.     But  cf.  p.  127,  line  5. 

127,  21  ff.  Similarly  Descartes,  Princ.  Phil.  IV.  cxc. 

230          GOD;  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

127,  34^.  This  long  note,  as  Sigwart  has  shown,  contains 
various  suggestions  which  Spinoza  subsequently  elaborated 
in  the  Ethics  (II.  xi.-xxxii.). 

128,  6-9.  "  We  have  also  said  .  .  ."     Not  in  this  Treatise 
as  we  now  have  it.     The  part  referred  to  must  have  been 

128,  12-17.  "  PaSe  — •"  The  numbers  of  the  pages 
referred  to  are  not  given  in  the  MS.  Nor  is  it  easy 
to  find  suitable  passages  for  most  of  them.  The  third 
proposition  is  not  proved  in  this  Treatise  at  all.  The 
references  are  probably  either  to  lost  parts,  or  to  parts 
which  Spinoza  intended  to  write,  but  did  not. 

128,  25 /.  "Has  an  idea" — that  is,  an  adequate  idea,  as 
explained  immediately  afterwards. 

129,  9  /.  "  Paul  "  and  "  Peter  "  should  probably  change 

129,  20  ff.  This  sentence  seems  irrelevant.  Perhaps  the 
difference  in  our  ideas  of  the  same  object  was  intended 
as  a  proof  of  their  imperfection,  of  which  the  preceding 
sentence  speaks. 

129,  33.  The  words  idea  reflexiva  seem  to  be  quite  irre 
levant   here,   and   the   version   which    they   suggested    to 
Monnikhoff  is  wrong.    Sigwart  has  suggested  that  the  error 
may  be  due  to  the  fact  that  on  p.  162,  lines  I3/.,  Spinoza 
passes  at  once  from  the  explanation  of  "  feeling  "  to  the  idea 
reflexiva  (self-consciousness),  and  this  transition  may  have 
been  misunderstood  by  the  copyist,  or  by  a  reader. 

130,  3.  "Soul"  =  the  soul  of  Nature—*'.*.,   the   infinite 
Idea.    See  p.  134. 


131,  According  to   Freudenthal,  this  and  the  following 
five  chapters  are  later  additions  to  the  Short  Treatise,  which 
originally  concluded  with  what  is  now  chapter  xviii.     See 
the  first  note  to  chapter  xvi.  (p.  223).     The  addition  of  these 


last  six  chaplers;  Freudenthal  thinks,  was  necessitated  by 
Spinoza's  (later)  distinction  between  Reason  and  Under 
standing  (or  Intuition,  which  is  the  highest  kind  of 

The  views  found  in  the  present  chapter  are  developed 
much  more  fully  in  Ethics,  IV.  ix.-xvii. 

131,  4^.  In  Ethics,  IV.xvii.  SchoL,  Spinoza  quotes  Ovid's 
well-known  utterance  (Metam.  vii.  20), 

Video  meliora  proboque,  deteriora  sequor, 

and  takes  Ecclesiastes,  i.  18  ("  He  that  increaseth  knowledge 
increaseth  sorrow  ")  to  refer  to  such  cases. 

131,  31.  What  does  "  for,  &c.,"  refer  to  ?  Possibly  to  the 
next  sentence  in  the  text  (p.  132,  lines  2  ff.).  So,  at  all 
events,  Monnikhoff  seems  to  have  understood  it,  for  instead 
of  "  See  pages  .  .  .,"  B  has  "  See  above."  But  the  passages 
referred  to  by  A  are  not  irrelevant  to  the  note  as  a  whole, 
and  were  most  probably  not  meant  to  refer  only  to  the 
last  sentence  of  the  note. 


133.  The  "  fourth  kind  of  knowledge  "—see  pp.  67-69,  and 
the  notes  on   them.     Sigvvart  cites  several  passages  from 
Heereboord's  Logic  which  appear  at  first  to  express  a  view 
very  like  Spinoza's  on  knowledge  as  a  bond  of  union  between 
man   and   God.     There  is,  however,  a  fundamental   diffe 
rence   between  the  two  views.     The  knowledge  to  which 
Heereboord  refers  is  discursive  knowledge,  or  what  Spinoza 
calls  "  Reason,"  while  Spinoza  refers  to  "  intuitive  "  know 
ledge,  which  is   almost  mystical  in  character.     The  view 
of  Heereboord,  it   may  be  remarked,  is  already  found   in 
Maimonides  and  other  medieval  Aristotelians. 

134,  7/.  "That  same   thing"  =  Nature  (line  6)  or  God 
(see   line   10),  or   possibly  the  "  thinking  thing  " — i.e.,  the 

232          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

attribute  Thought  (see  lines  157.  and  p.  64,  lines  20  /.).  The 
meaning  is  ultimately  the  same  in  any  case.  It  may  be 
that  the  sentence  is  imperfect,  and  (as  suggested  by  Dr.  W. 
Meyer)  the  following  words  should  be  inserted  after  "  in  " 
(line  7)  :  "  the  thinking  thing,  which  idea  is  .  .  ." 

134,  18.  The  expression  "cause"  is  not  quite  accurate 
here.  What  is  meant  (as  the  context  shows)  is  that,  corre 
sponding  to  that  mode  in  the  Attribute  Extension  called  our 
body,  there  is  a  mode  in  the  Attribute  Thought  called  our 
soul ;  but  it  is  not  the  body  that  "  produces  "  the  soul  (the 
Attribute  Thought  does  that),  it  is  only  in  a  certain  sense 
the  "  occasion"  of  its  existence.  Note  ft  was  obviously 
intended  to  correct  the  false  suggestion  of  the  word  "  cause." 
Possibly  the  note  was  made,  not  by  Spinoza,  but  by  some 


136.  Cf.  p.  65,  lines  31  ff.  ;  also  Ethics,  V.  xxi.-xxiii., 
xxxiii.  /.,  xxxviii.  /.  (In  the  Cogitata  Metaphysica,  II.  xii., 
the  soul  is  said  to  be  immortal  because  it  is  a  substance, 
and  a  substance  cannot  destroy  itself,  nor  be  destroyed 
by  any  other  created  substance.  But  this  reasoning 
was  obviously  not  intended  to  represent  Spinoza's  own 

Joel  has  rightly  drawn  attention  to  a  certain  similarity 
in  the  views  of  Spinoza  and  Maimonides  on  Immortality. 
According  to  both  Maimonides  and  Spinoza,  Immortality 
(in  the  higher  sense)  is  not  something  which  is  the  com 
mon  right  of  all,  independently  of  the  lives  they  actually 
live,  but  rather  a  gift  that  has  to  be  acquired  by  leading  a 
life  not  only  of  moral  uprightness,  but  also  of  strenuous 
effort  after  the  highest  kind  of  knowledge.  Very  similar  to 
their  view  on  Immortality  is  also  their  view  on  Providence. 
(See  the  note  to  140,  21  ff.). 



138,  8.  "  What  there  is  .  .  ."  The  Dutch  is  wot  daar  af 
is  en  te  zeggen  zoude  zijn  [  B  :  wat  daar  af  is,  en  van  het  zelfde 
zou  te  zeggen  zijn'].  The  construction  seems  to  be  con 
fused  ;  but  the  meaning  is  clear. 

138,  13  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xvii.  (Deus  expers  est  passionum, 
nee  ullo  Lcetitice  aut  Tristitice  affectu  afficitur)  and  xix. 
(Qui  Deum  amat,  conari  non  potest,  ut  Deus  ipsum  contra 

138,  27  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xxxvi.  and  xl.  Schol.:  ".  .  .  Our 
mind,  in  so  far  as  it   understands,  is  an   eternal  mode  of 
Thought,  which  is  determined  by  another  mode  of  Thought, 
and  this  again  by  another,  et  sic  in  infmitum ;  so  that  all 
taken  together  constitute  the  eternal  and  infinite  intellect  of 

139,  4ff.  Cf.  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus,   chapters  iv., 
xvi.,  and  xix. 

140,  21  ff.  The  following  passage  from  Maimonides  (Guide, 
III.  liv.  p.  395)  throws  some  light  on  this  paragraph  (and 
also   on  parts  of  chapter  xxiii.) :    "Even  this  [moral  per 
fection]  is  only  a  preparation  for  another  perfection,  and  is 
not  sought  for  its  own  sake.     For  all  moral  principles  con 
cern  the  relation  of  man  to  his  neighbour.  .  .  .  Imagine 
a  person   being   all   alone,    and   ...   all   his   good  moral 
principles  .  .  .  are  not  required.  .  .  .  These  principles  are 
only  necessary  and  useful  when  man  comes  in  contact  with 
others.   The  fourth  kind  of  perfection  is  the  true  perfection 
of  man  ;  the  possession  of  the  highest  intellectual  faculties  ; 
the  possession  of  .  .  .  true  metaphysical  notions  concerning 
God.     With   this  perfection  man  attains  to  his  final  end ; 
...   it   gives  him   immortality  ;    and  makes  him  what  is 
(properly)  called  Man." 

141,  5^.  Cf.  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus,  i.  vi.  xiii. 

234          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 


143.  Cf.  Tractatus  Theologico-Politicus,  ii. 

As  already  stated  in  the  Introduction,  this  chapter  on  Devils 
played  an  important  role  in  the  recovery  of  the  Short  Treatise. 
Kindness  shown  even  to  the  devil  is  not  wasted.  Devils 
and  spirits  of  all  sorts  and  conditions  were  very  real  things 
in  those  days  ;  Spinoza's  quiet  humour  is  much  in  advance 
of  his  time.  In  an  earlier  draft  of  the  Treatise  this  chapter 
may  have  had  a  different  place,  for  it  is  referred  to  as 
chapter  xxi.  by  Hallmann. 

143,  15  ff.  In  Ethics,  II.  xxx.,  Spinoza  says,  on  the  contrary, 
that  "  the  duration  of  our  body  does  not  depend  upon  its 
essence  .  .  .  but  .  .  .  upon  the  common  order  of  nature 
and  the  constitution  of  things." 


144,8.  B  omits  the  words  "  through  reason  .  .  ."probably 
because  the  copyist  (Monnikhoff)  noticed  that  it  had  not 
been  shown  how  "our  blessedness"  is  attained  "  through 
reason."  See  note  to  128,  12-17  (p.  230). 

144,  18  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xlii.:  "  Blessedness  is  not  virtue's 
reward,  but  virtue  itself.  .  .  .  The  more  a  mind  delights  in 
the  love  of  God  .  .  .  the  more  does  it  understand,  that  is, 
the  greater  power  has  it  over  its  feelings,  and  the  less  does 
it  suffer  from  evil  passions." 

144,  22  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xli.:  "  Even  if  we  did  not  know 
that  our  mind  is  eternal  we  should  still  hold  Piety  and 
Religion  to  be  of  first  importance.  .  .  .  The  creed  of  the 
multitude  appears  to  be  different.  For  most  people  seem  to 
believe  that  they  are  free  only  in  so  far  as  they  are  permitted 
to  indulge  in  lustfulness.  .  .  .  Piety  and  Religion  .  .  .  they 
believe  to  be  burdens.  .  .  ."  It  is  only  the  hope  of  reward 
and  the  fear  pf  punishment  after  death  that  induce  them  to 


submit  to  the  divine  law.  If  they  believed  that  minds  perish 
with  the  body  they  would  follow  their  own  sweet  will,  and 
obey  chance  desires  rather  than  themselves.  But  "this 
seems  to  be  no  less  absurd  than  the  conduct  of  a  man  who, 
because  he  does  not  believe  that  he  can  feed  his  body  with 
good  food  to  all  eternity,  decides  to  stuff  himself  with 
poisonous  and  deadly  drugs;  or  because  he  sees  that  the 
mind  is  not  eternal  or  immortal,  therefore  prefers  to  be  mad 
and  live  without  reason." 

145,  8  ff.  The  parable  of  the  fish  (as  Joel  has  pointed  out) 
was  probably  suggested  to  Spinoza  by  the  following  Tal- 
mudical  legend  (Babylonian  Talmud,  Berachot,  6ib — quoted 
by  Joel).  In  the  reign  of  Hadrian  the  Romans  prohibited 
the  Jews  to  study  the  Law.  Rabbi  Akiba,  however,  persisted 
in  studying  and  teaching  it.  And  when  a  certain  Pappos 
warned  him  of  the  danger  that  threatened  him,  he  replied 
with  the  following  parable  :  A  fox  on  the  banks  of  a  river 
saw  many  fishes  hurrying  away  from  a  certain  spot.  Asking 
them  why  they  fled,  he  was  told  that  they  were  afraid  of  the 
nets  which  had  just  been  spread  for  them.  "  Come,  then," 
suggested  the  fox,  "  come  out,  and  let  us  live  together  on  land, 
even  as  our  forefathers  did."  "  What ! "  exclaimed  the 
fishes,  "  if  even  in  our  own  element  we  can  only  live  in  fear 
and  dread,  what  shall  we  do  on  land,  which  to  us  spells 
death?"  Even  so,  said  Rabbi  Akiba,  is  it  with  the  Jews. 
The  Law  is  our  element,  for  it  is  written,  "It  is  thy  life 
and  the  length  of  thy  days."  If  danger  lurks  in  the  study 
of  the  Law,  a  yet  greater  danger  lurks  in  the  neglect 

145,  28  /.  Cf.  Hosea,  xi.  4:  "I  drew  them  .  .  .  with  bands 
of  love" 

In  the  Ethics,  V.  xxxvi.  Schol.,  Spinoza  says  that  human 
Salvation,  or  Blessedness  or  Freedom,  consists  in  "  a  constant 
and  eternal  love  towards  God." 

146,  ii  /.  Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xl.  :  "  The  more  perfect  a  thing  is 

236          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

the  more  reality  it  possesses,  and  consequently  acts  more 
and  suffers  less." 

146,  16  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  I.  xxviii.  and  III.  iv. 

146,  27  ff.  Cf.  p.  38,  lines  12  /. 

147,  i  ff.  Cf.  p.  36,  lines  21  ff. 

147,  5/.  "Whole,"  however,  is  only  an  ens  rationis,  and 
does  not  adequately  express  the  actual  relationship  of  God 
to  finite  beings. 

147,  9  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xxxviii.  xl.  Here  it  is  maintained 
that  the  greater  our  union  with  God  is,  the  greater  is  our 
activity ;  in  the  Ethics  we  see  the  converse  of  this,  namely, 
the  more  active  we  are  (or  the  more  we  understand)  the 
more  are  we  united  with  God. 

147,  i6ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  V.  xxix.-xxxi. 

147,  31  ff.  Cf.  Ethics,  IV.  xxxii.-xxxvii. 

148,  3  /.  The  Dutch  is  not  very  clear  :  hoe  't  zij,  of  niet 
zij,  ik  ben  gehouwen  of  geslaagen,  dit  's  klaar. 

148,  35  ff.  This  note  is  apparently  just  a  marginal  sum 

149, 12  ff.  Cf.  Letter  XV.,  and  the  Introduction,  pp.  cxxiv.  ff. 



153.  This  gives  a  "  geometric  "  version  of  the  first  half  of 
chapter  ii.  Part  I.  It  is  remarkable  that  no  Definitions  are 
given,  although  they  are  really  essential  features  of  the 
"geometric  method."  Spinoza,  however,  made  good  the 
omission  not  only  in  the  Ethics,  but  already  in  a  brief  essay 
(very  similar  to  this  Appendix)  which  he  sent  to  Oldenburg, 
whose  first  letter  to  Spinoza  and  the  latter's  reply  thereto 
have  already  been  referred  to  in  the  Introduction  (pp.  Ixiv.  /., 
cxxiii.).  In  the  course  of  his  reply  Spinoza  remarks  that 


he  thought  it  best  to  state  his  explanations  also  separately 
in  the  geometric  form,  and  that  he  was  enclosing  it  for 
Oldenburg's  perusal  and  criticism.  Unfortunately  the 
enclosed  essay  has  been  lost.  The  correspondence  (Letters 
1 1. -IV.),  however,  leaves  little  doubt  about  the  contents  of 
that  essay,  which  Sigwart  has  reconstructed  as  follows  : 


1.  Deum    definio     esse    Ens    constans    infmitis    attributis 
quorum  unumquodque   est   infmitum  sive    summe   perjectum 
in  suo  genere. 

2.  Per  attributum  intelligo  omne  id  quod  concipitur  per  se  et 
in  se,  adeo  ut  ipsius  conceptus  non  involvat  conceptum  alterius 
rei.     Ut  ex,  gr.  extensio  per  se  et  in  se  concipitur ;  at  motus 
non  item.     Nam  concipitur  in  alio,  et  ipsius  conceptus  involvit 

3.  Ea  res  dicitur  in  suo  genere  infmita,  qua  alia  ejusdem 
natura  non  terminatur.     Sic  corpus  non  terminatur  cogitationc, 
nee  cogitatio  cor  pore. 

4.  Per  substantiam  intelligo  id,  quod  per  se  et  in  se  con 
cipitur,   hoc    est    cujus    conceptus    non    involvit    conceptum 
alteriiis  rei. 

5.  Per  modificationem  sive  per  accidens  intelligo  id,  quod  in 
alio  est  et  per  id,  in  quo  est,  concipitur. 


1.  Substantia  est  prior  natura.  suis  accidentibus. 

2.  Prater  substantias  el  accidentia  nil   datur  realiter,  sive 
extra  intellectum. 

3.  Res  qua  diversa  habent  attributa,  nihil  habent   inter  se 

4.  Rerum  qua  nihil  habent  inter  se  commune,  una  alterius 
causa  csse  non  pot  est. 


238          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 


1.  In  rerum  natura  non  possunt  existere  duce   substantia 
ejusdem  attributi. 

2.  Substantia  non  potest  produci  [neque  ab  alia  quacumque 
substantia]  t  sed  de  ipsius  essentia  est  existere. 

3.  Omnis  substantia  debet  esse  infinita  sive  summe  perfecta  in 
suo  genere. 

There  was  also  a  Scholium  like  Schol.  2  in  Ethics,  I.  viii., 
but  it  is  difficult  to  restore  the  text  of  it. 

The  first  Appendix  was  probably  a  first  draft  of  the  above 
essay  (1661),  in  which  Definitions  were  added,  while  the  rest 
was  abridged. 

153,  6/.  In  the  Cogitata  Metaphysica  (II.  v.)  Spinoza 
enumerates  three  kinds  of  "  distinctions."  Rerum  distinctio 
triplex,  Realis,  Modalis,  Rationis.  The  explanations  which 
he  adds  are  the  same  as  those  given  by  Descartes.  See  note 
to  102,  15  (pp.220/.). 

153,  19 /.  Axiom  7  looks  suspicious.  It  is  really  only  a 
repetition  of  Axiom  i.  Possibly  it  was  only  a  reader's  note 
on  Axiom  i,  but  was  incorporated  in  the  text  by  an 
uncritical  copyist.  The  suspicion  is  confirmed  by  the  fact 
that  no  use  is  made  of  it  in  what  follows. 


157,  3  ff.  Cf.  pp.  63  /.,  127  ff.  note.  Observe  the  omission 
here  of  the  argument  that  man  is  not  a  substance. 

157,  14  ff.  Cf.  pp.  57,  128  /.,  134,  and  Ethics,  II.  i.-iv. 

On  p.  24  (lines  31  ff.)  it  was  maintained  that  whatever  is 
in  the  infinite  understanding  of  God  must  actually  exist ; 
here  (lines  18  ff.)  we  have  the  converse  assertion,  namely, 
that  whatever  is  real  must  have  its  idea  in  the  attribute 


The  subject  of  paragraph  i  is  really  continued  on  p.  159, 
28-p.  160,  5,  and  Freudenthal  held  that  these  lines  have 
got  misplaced  somehow,  as  they  would  fit  in  very  well  if 
placed  immediately  after  p.  158,  2,  while  they  are  irrelevant 
in  their  actual  context. 

157,  24^.  In  Ethics,  II.  vii.  Schol.,  Spinoza  says:  "The 
[so-called]  thinking  substance  and  the  [so-called]  extended 
substance  are  really  one  and  the  same  substance,  which  is 
comprehended  now  under  this,  now  under  that  attribute. 
Similarly,  a  mode  of  extension  and  the  idea  of  that  mode  are 
one  and  the  same  thing,  only"  expressed  in  two  ways  ;  a 
truth  which  certain   Hebrews   appear   to  have  seen   as  if 
through   a   cloud,   for   they   state,  namely,   that   God,   the 
intellect  of  God,  and  the  things  which  are  apprehended  by 
that  intellect  are  one  and  the  same  thing." 

158,  4  ff.  Cf.  pp.  69  (lines  26  ff.),  121  ff. 

158,  7  ff.  Cf.  p.  79  (lines  8  ff.),  and  Ethics,  III.  vi.  /. 

158,  ii  ff.  Cf.  pp.  127  ff.  notes. 

159,  6.  Realiter  is  not    quite  accurate   here  ;    it  is   used 
in  a  wider  sense  or  from  a  Cartesian  point  of  view,  accord 
ing  to  which  "  things  "  and  "  souls  "  are  substances,  which 
are  therefore  different  realiter. 

159,  9.  "  Essence" — that  is,  of  the  soul. 

159,  16  /.  That  is,  he  does  not  say  "  which  exists  as  a 
material  (or  extended)  thing.1' 

159,  24.  "As  regards  their  existence."  Dutch,  na  haar 
wezentlijkheyt.  The  Latin  was  most  probably  realiter. 
Attributes  do  not  differ  realiter ',  because  a  distinctio  realis  is 
only  between  different  substances.  The  attributes,  however, 
though  distinct,  are  not  distinct  substances,  nor  are  they 
supported  by  distinct  substances  ;  they  are  their  own 
"  subjects  "  or  substrates  (that  is  to  say,  they  need  no  other 
"  subjects  "  for  their  support),  and  together  they  constitute 
the  one  and  only  "  Substance." 

159,  28  ff.  See  note  to  157,  14  ff.  (top  of  this  page). 


240          GOD,  MAN,  AND  HIS  WELL-BEING 

160,  20.  "  Which  really  exists  in  Nature."  The  stress  laid 
on  this  clause  will  only  be  understood  after  a  careful  reading 
of  the  whole  paragraph,  omitting  p.  159,  28-p.  160,  5.  So 
long  as  Extension  and  the  other  Attributes  do  not  evolve 
particular  modes  having  duration  in  time  (existence),  so  long 
also  there  is  only  the  Attribute  Thought  as  an  Attribute,  and 
there  are  no  individual  "  Ideas "  or  "Souls."  "Souls" 
are  only  evolved  out  of  the  Attribute  Thought  in  so  far  as 
particular  "  modes  "  (bodies,  &c.)  of  the  other  Attributes 
come  into  existence. 

160,  26  /.  Spinoza  generally   distinguishes   between   the 
attribute  Thought   and  its  infinite  mode  or   Idea,    Under 
standing.     B  must  be  wrong  here. 

161,  6  ff.  Cf.  notes  7-14  on  pp.  63  ff.     These  notes  show 
a  further  development  of  the  ideas  in  the  present  paragraph, 
and  are  most  probably  later  additions. 

162,  13  ff.  The  concluding  sentences  really  contain  a  very 
brief  synopsis  of  the  plan  which  Spinoza  followed  in  the 
second  part  of  the  Ethics,  where  (as  Sigwart  has  pointed  out) 
propositions  xi.-xix.  are  devoted  to  the  consideration  of  the 
idea  corporis  and  idea  affectionum    corporis,  xx.-xxiii.   to 
the    idea    idea    (  =  idea    reflexiva),    xxiv.-xxxi.    to   sense- 
experience,  xxxii.-xxxvi.  to  adequate  and  inadequate  ideas, 
xxxviii.  ff.  to  reasoned  knowledge,  &c.     The  conclusion  of 
the  Short  Treatise  thus  directs  our  attention  to  the  Ethics. 


ABRAHAMS,  I.,  xx  f 

Accidental,  48  f,  90,  196 
cause,  48  f 

Act  of  Seclusion,  Ixxvi 

Activity,  146 

Adam,  50,  76 

Akiba,  235 

Albertus  Magnus,  xxvii 

Alexander  Aphrodisiensis,  197 

Alva,  xiv 

Amsterdam,  first  Jews  in,  xv 

Anger,  83,  95,  143,  211 

Aniellos,  Thomas,  xxix 

"  Animal      spirits,"       see      "  Vital 
spirits  " 

A   posteriori  proofs  of  God's  exist 
ence,  i6ff,  55,  142,  167,  172 

A  priori  proofs,  15,  20,  53,  55,   167 

Aquinas,  Thomas,  20,  56,  172,  198 

Aristotle,  xxvii,  xxxii,   50,  70,   112, 
168,   199,  224  f,  229 

Armada,  the,  xv 

Arminius,  xli 

Arnold,  M.,  1 

Attribute,   21,   30  f,   37  ff,    52  f,   55, 

153,   171,   174  f,   187,   199 
and  property,  19,  31,  46  ff,  52  f, 

"  Attribute  or  substance,"   34,   52, 


Augustine,  200 
Avenarius,    R.,    cxxv,    cxxvii,    176, 


Averroes,  200 
Aversion,  82  ff,  210 
Awe  of  God,  116 

BACON,  Ixiv  f,  204,  212 

Balling,  1,  liii,  cxvi,  cxxiv 

Baltzer,  A.,  cxxvii 

Barlaeus,  C.,  xxvii 

Barneveldt,  xli,  Ixxv 

Belief,  67  ff,  74  ff,  99,  102,  105,  118, 

205,  208 
Believer,  68 
Bell  illustration,  1 1 3 
Beuningen,  van,  Ixix  ff 
Berkeley,  169 
Bible,  allusions  to  the,  42,  141,  211, 

225  f,  231,  235 

Bible,  Spinoza's  translation  of  the, 


Blyenbergh,  Ixxii  f 
Body,     63  ff,     107,     121  ff,     133  ff, 

227  ff,  234 
Boehmer,  E.,  cv  f,  cxxvii,  65,  181  f, 


Bogaers,  A.,  cvi 
Boldness,  90  ff,  214 
Bouwmeister,  Ixviii 
Boyle,  R.,  Ixiii,  Ixv,  Ixxi,  xc,  xciii 
Bravery,  91,  214 
Browning,  R.,  226 
Bruno,  cxxvi,  167,  183,  187 
Burgersdijck,     xxxi,      179,      190  ff, 

195,  225 

Burnet,  Bishop,  Ixxxvii 
Busse,  L.,  cxxvii 

Calculation    of    Chances,    Essay    on 
the,  Ixxxiv 

Casearius,  lii,  Ixii,  Ixvi 

Casseres,  S.  de,  xviii,  xxiii,  xxxviii 

Causa  per  accidens,  42,  193 
per  se,  42,  193 
sui,  20,  54  f,  114,  149,  153,  171  f 

Cause,  1 06,  190  ff,  211 

Change,  20 

Charles  II.,  Ixxi,  Ixxvi,  Ixxxv 

Charles  V.,  Emperor,  xiii 

Christ,  xcix,  4,  200  f 

Christians,  72  f 

Christina,  Queen  of  Sweden,  xxvii 

Clauberg,  188,  194 

Clear  knowledge,  see  Knowledge 

Clothes,  Spinoza  on,  97,  218 

Coccejus,  Ixii 

Cogitata     Metaphysica,     see     Meta 
physical  Thoughts 

Cold,  161 

Coleridge,  cii 

Colerus,  xxix,  xxxi,  Ixxxi,  c,  cv,  218 

Collegiants,  xxxvi,  xli,  Ivi,  Ixii 

Conatus,  47,  196 

Conceit,  87  ff,  212 

Conde,  Prince,  Ixxxvii  f 

Confidence,  90  ff,  213  f 

Confusion  in  Nature,  50 

Conscience,  84 

Contempt,  87  ff,  96,  212,  215 




Cossack  persecutions,  xliii  f 
Costa,  Uriel  da,  xxxiv,  xlii  f 
Courage,  90  f,  93 
Creation,    xxxv,    23,    57,    108,    173, 


Crescas,  xxxv,   174,   196  f,  208  f 
Cromwell,  xxvii,  Ixiii,  Ixxvi 
Culpable  humility,  87  f,  212 
Cupiditas,   112,   185,  225 

DEFINITION,  rules  of,  52  ff,  65  f 

Delmedigo,  xxxiv 

Depression,  fits  of,  122 

Derision,  95,  215  f 

Descartes,  xxxv,  xlix  ff,  Ivi  f,  Ixiv  f, 

Ixxv,  xc,  cxxvi,  55,  166  ff,  177  ff, 

185,  195,  197,  199,  205  ff,    211   f, 

215  ff,   226  ff 
Desire,   32  ff,  69,   73,   85,    100,    105, 

nof,  132,  185,  208,  224  f,  229 
Despair,  90  ff,  116,  213  f 
Deurhoff,  W.,  cviii,  cxv  f 
Devils,  civ  f,  cxxvi,  116,  143  f,  234 
Divine  laws,  139 
Divine  revelation,  141 
Divine  service,  116  f 
Division,  28  f 
Dream,  103 
Duff,  R.  A.,  cxxviii 
Duns  Scotus,  xxvii,  169,  197 
Duration   as   involving   continuous 
creation,  108,  224 

EFFICIENT  cause,  41,  191  ff 

Eliot,  George,  215 

Elisha  ben  Abuyali,  xlvii 

Elizabeth,  Queen,  xv 

"  Emanative  cause,"  41,  191 

"  Eminent  cause,"  18,  170 

Eminenter,  18,  119,  170 

Emulation,  90  f,  93,  214 

Enden,  Clara  van  den,  xxxix,  li 

Enden,  F.  van  den,  xxxi  f ,  xxxix  f,  li, 
Ixxxvi,  cxxvi 

Endgeest,  Ivi 

Ens  rationis,  38,  59,  75  f,  106  f,  178, 

Ens  reale,  59,  76,  178,  209 

Envy,  83,  95,  116,  143,  211 

Episcopius,  xxviii 

Erasmus,  36  ff 

Error,  102  f,  109  f 

Essence,    37,   65  f,    83,    103  ff,    116, 

128,  167 

and  attributes,  26 
and  existence,  15  ff,  128,  167  f 
and  perfection,  83,  116,  143 

Esteem,  87  ff,  212 

Eternal  laws,  140 

Eternity,  167 

Ethics,  Spinoza's,  Ixvii  f ,  Ixx  ff ,  Ixxx, 
Ixxxiii  f,  xcii  ff,  ciii  ff,  172,  175  ff 
184,  186  ff,  195  ff,  200  ff.  208  ff 

Euripides,  xxvii 

Evil,  liii,  51,  54,  59  f,  74  ff,  82 

Ex  nihilo  nihil  fit,  108 

Experience,  67  f,  73,  204 

"  Extension,"  xxxv,  27  ff,  52,  57, 
63  ff,  119  ff,  128  f,  153  ff,  173  ff, 
178  f,  232 

"  Extraneous  denomination,"  31, 
1 80 

FALSITY,  102  ff,  109  f,  220  f 

Favour,  98,  100,  218  f 

Fear,  73,  90  ff,  213  f 

Fear  of  God,  116 

Felbinger,  xxx 

Ferdinand  and  Isabella,  xii 

Final  causes,  xxxv 
end  of  things,  117 

First  cause,  42,  194 

Fischer,  Kuno,  cxxviii 

Fish,  parable  of  the,  145,  235 

"  Formal,"  157,  168 

Formaliter — eminenter,  18,  170 

Formaliter — objective,  16,  22  ff,  168 

Free  cause,  41,  46,  80,  193 

Freedom,  44,  46,  144  ff,  235 

Free  will,  105  ff 

Freudenthal,  J.,  cxxii,  cxxvi, 
cxxviii,  166  f,  169,  176,  182  f, 
185  f,  203,  222  ff,  226,  229  ff,  239 

Friedlander,  M.,  168 

GALILEO,  xxxiv 

Garden  of  Flowers,  A,  Ixxx 

Gebhardt,  C.,  cxxviii,  204 

General  ideas,  50,  59,  106  ff 

General  modes,  56  f,  78 

Generation  and  creation,  23 

Geometric  method,  Ixv  f,  Ixviii, 
236  f 

Gersonides,  xxxiii,  xxxv 

Glory,  96  f,  100,  217  f 

God,  21  ff,  119,  153  ff,  172,  184,  187 

233,  236,  239 
and    Nature,    xxxv,   22,   25    f, 

155  ff,  176  f 

and  truth,  78,  103,  210 
the  existence  of,  15  ff,  52  f,  172 
the  highest  good,  54,  76,  80  f, 

86,  100,  118,  144  ff,  213 
the  immanence  of,  30,  179 

God's  love  of  man.  138  ff 

Godliness,  143 

Goethe,  cii 

Good  and  evil,  liii  ff,  44  f,  51,  54, 
59  f,  74  ff,  82,  100,  198  f 

Grace,  cxxvi,  1 1 8 



Gratitude,  98,  100,  218  f 
Greed,  98 

Gresham  College,  Ixii  f 
Grief,  99,  211,  219 
Grotius,  xxvii  ft,  xli 
Guide  of  the  Perplexed,   The,  xxxiii, 
xcix,  &c.    See  Maimonides 

HALLMANN,  civ,  cxvii,   165,  234 
Happiness,   n8ff,   133,  219  f,  234 
Hatchet,  parable  of  the,  117 
Hatred,    33,    72,    82  ff,    100,    121  ff, 

143,  208,  210,  215 
Hearsay,  67  f,  71 
Heat,  161 
Hebrew  Grammar,  Spinoza's,  Ixxxiv, 

Heereboord,    xxxi,    190,    193,    195, 

198,  231 

Heidelberg  professorship,  Ixxxix 
Heine,  xix,  xcvii 
Hell,  116 
"  Higher  criticism  "    of   the   Bible, 

Homan,  Ivi 
Homo  Politicus,  xcix 
Honour,  liv,  79 
Hope,  90  ff,  213  f 
Hudde,  Ixix  f 

Human  happiness,   118  ff,  133 
Human  laws,  139  f 
Human  weakness,  79 
Humility,  87  f,  212,  215 
Huygens,  xlix,  Ixii,  Ixix  ff,  xc 
Hypocrites,  87  f 
t    ., 

IBN  EZRA,  xxi,  xxxii  f,  xxxv 

Ibn  Gabirol,  xxvii 

Idea,  50,  63  ff,  67  ff,  76,  102,  106  f, 

157  ff,  170,  220 
Ideas  and  existence,  18 
Ideas  of  God,  129 
Idea  reftexiva,   129,   162,  230,  240 
Ideatum,  16  f,  169 
Imagination,  18,  85 
Immanent  cause,  30,  34  ff,  41,  146  f, 


Immediate  mode,  158 
Immortality,    61,    101,    123,    135  ff, 

145,  147,  162,  232 
Impulse,  124 
Inciting  cause,  42,  194 
Indignation,  95,  217 
Induction,  68,  70,  73 
Infinite  idea,  158,  162 
Inquisition,  the,  xii  ff,  xxv  f 
In  sensu  composite,  48,  196  f 
In  sensu  diviso,  48,  196  f 
Instrumental  cause,  42,  193 
"  Invisible  College,"  the,  Ixiii 

JEALOUSY,  90,  92,  214 

Jelles,  1  f,  liii,  Ixvii,  xcvii,  cv,  cxv, 


Jesting,  95,  216 
Jews,  xi  ff,  72  f 
Joachim,  H.  H.,  cxxviii 
Joel,   M.,   cxxviii,    196  f,    205,    208, 

232,  235 
Jones,  R.,  Ixii 
Joy,  85  f,  90  f,  211 
Judah  the  Faithful,  xxi 
Judas,  60 

Judgment,  109,  224 
Justice,  45 


Karl     Ludwig,     Elector     Palatine, 


Katwijk-aan-Zee,  Ivi 
Kayserling,  xxx 
Keckermann,  194 
Kerckrinck,  xxxix,  1  f 
Knowledge,   67  ff,   74,    76,   99,    118, 

133  f,  204  f,  208  f,  219,  221  f,  231 
Koerbagh,  A.  and  J.,  Ixii,  Ixxx  f 

LATIN  among  the  Jews,  xxx  f 

Laughter,  95,  124,  215  ff 

Law,  sin,  and  grace,  cxxvi,  118 

Laws  of  Nature,  139  f,  196 

Leibniz,  xlix,  xc,  xciv  ff,  169 

Lessing,  xcvii,  cii 

Leyden,  Ivi 

Light  in  Dark  Places,  Ixxx 

Light  on  the  Candlestick,  The,  1 

Linde,  A.  van  der,  cix 

Louis  XIV.,  Ixxi,  Ixxxv  f,  Ixxxviii, 

Love,    32  ff,    69,    71  f,    78  ff,    100, 

121  ff,  132,  188,  209,  220 
of    God,    80  f,    116,    123,    133, 

144  ff,  210,  233 
Lucas,  J.  M.,  xc,  c,  218 
Luxemburg,  Count,  Ixxxviii 

MAIMONIDES,  xxvii  f,  xxxiii,  xxxv, 
xcix,  167,  174,  176  f,  189,  197  f, 
205,  231  ff 

Man,  63,  n6f,  120,  157,  203,  211 
a  perfect,  84 
and  Nature,  140 
as  the  servant  of  God,  115,  225 
Manasseh  ben  Israel,  xxv  ff,  xxxiv  f, 

xlv,  Ixix,  cxxvi 
Maranos,  xii  f 
Margaret  of  Parma,  xiv 
Martineau,  J.,  cxxviii,  164,  183  f,  210 
Matter,  119 
Mennonites,  xxxvi,  xli 



Metaphysical    Thoughts,    liii,    Ixxii, 

167,  173,  188,  195  ff,  209,  231,  237 
Meyer,  L.,  1  ff,  Ixvii  f,  Ixxvii,  xcvii, 

cxvii,  cxxiv 
Meyer,  W.,  cxvi  f,  cxxvii,  187,  189  f, 

223,  231 
Milton,  Ixiii 
Miracles,  142 
Mochinger,  xxxi 

Modal  difference,  153  ff,  220  f,  237 
Modaliter,  153  ff 

Mode,  33,  55  ff,  63  ff,  78,  153,  158 
Monnikhoff,  cviii  ff,  165  f,  190 
Morteira,     Saul,     xxiii,     xxv,     xxx, 

Motion  and  rest,  28,  30,  39,  57,  63  ff, 

120  ff,  126,  130,  153  ff.   161,   172, 

199  ff,  229 
Miiller,  F.,  cv  f,  cix 
Murr,  C.  T.  de,  cv 
Mylius,  J.  C.,  cv 

Natura  naturans,  56,  199  f 
Natura  naturata,  56  f,  199  f 
Natural  cause,  41,  193 
Nature,    xxxv,    30,    32  f,    47,    55  ff, 

80,  128,  173,  184 
Nature  =  extension,  28 
Nature  and  God,  22,  25  f,  151  f,  156  f 
Navigation  Act,  the,  Ixxvi 
Negative  theology,  53,  198 
Netherlands,  the  Jews  in  the,  xiii  ff 
Nil  volentibus  arduum,  Hi 
Non-existence,  44 
Noordwijk-aan-Zee,  Ivi 
Nunes,  Maria,  xv 

OBJECT,  169 

Objective,  16,  157  f,  168  f 

Objective  essence,   18,   170 

Oblivion,  33 

Occasionalism,  226  f 

Oldenburg,    H.,   Ixi  ff,   Ixx  ff,   xc  ff, 

cxxiii,  236 

Opera  Posthuma,  xcvi,  ciii,  ex,  165 
Opinion,  67  ff,  105,  118,  131,  204  f 
Ouderkerk  or  Ouwerkerk,  xxv, 

xlviii  f 
Ovid,  231 

PAIN,  127,  161  f 

Pallache,  S.,  xv  f 

"  Passion,"  69  ff,  116,  123,  126,  131, 

206  f,  213,  217,  219 
Passivity,  29  f,  146,  221 
Paul,  50,  129 
Paul  IV.,  xiii 
Perfection,  83,  143 
Perpetual  Edict,  the,  Ixxxv 

Perrenot  (Cardinal  Granvelle),  xiii 

Peter,  50  f,  60,  128  f 

Peter  Lombard,  177 

Philip  II.,  xiii 

Philip  III.,  xxv,  xl 

Philo  Judaeus,  198 

Plato,  xxvii,  50,  172,  225 

Pleasure,  liv,  79,  145 

Political      Treatise,     The,      Ixxxiv, 

xciii  f 

Pollock,  Sir  F.,  cxxviii,  218 
Powell,  E.  E.,  cxxviii 
Predestination,  43  f,  48 
Predisposing  cause,  42,  194 
Preservation,  108,  224 
Pride,  1 1 5  f 

Principal  cause,  42,  193 
Principia    Philosophic    Cartesians, 

Ixvi  ff,    Ixx,    Ixxxvii,    xciv,    cix  f, 


Properties  or  propria,  19,  41,  171 
Providence,  47,  50,  197 
Provoking  cause,  42  f,  193  f 
Proximate  cause,  42,  188 
Psycho-physical  parallelism,  227  ff 
Pusillanimity,  90  f,  93  f,  214 

Rainbow,  Essay  on   the,  Ixxxiv,  ciii 
Rationalism     of     medieval     Jews, 

xxxii  f 
"  Real  difference,"  102,  153  ff,  159, 

220  f,  237 

Realiter,  102,  153  ff,  159 
Reason,  32  ff,  68  f,  74,  80,  94,  99, 

131  f,  145,  184  f,  215 
Regeneration,  cxxvi,  135 
Regius,  217 
Reimmann,  J.  F.,  cv 
Relations,  59 
Rembrandt,  xxviii  f 
"  Remonstrance,"  the,  xli 
Remorse,  33,  94,  2i4f 
Remote  cause,  36,  42,  188 
Repentance,  94,  215 
Rest,  see  Motion 
Revelation,  141 
Riches,  liv,  79 
Rieuwertsz,  1,  liii,  Ixviii,  xcvi,  ciii, 

cxvii,  165 

Rijnsburg,  Iv  ff,  Ixviii 
Rijnsburgers,  Ivi,  Ixii 
Rivaud,  A.,  cxxviii 
Robinson,  L.,  217 
Royal  Society,  the,  Ixii  f,  Ixxi  f 
Rule  of  three,  the,  67  f,  74 
Ruyter,  de,  Ixxxv 


St.  Denis,  C.  de,  Ixxix 

St.  Everemont,  Seigneur  de,  Ixxix 


Sceptics,  88,  212  f 

Schaarschmidt,  C.,  cxix,  cxxvii 

Schuller,  G.  H.,  xc,  xciv  ft 

Scorn,  215 

Scotus  Erigena,  200 

Second   notion    (or   intention),    34, 


Secret  Treaty  of  Dover,  the,  Ixxxv 
Self-love,  96  ff,  100 
Self-preservation,  47,  158 
Self-respect,  87  f,  212 
Senses,  the,  129 
Shame    and     shamelessness,    96  f, 

217  f 
Short  Treatise,  The,  liii,   Iv,  Iviii  ff, 

Ixv,  Ixx,  xcii,  xcix,  ciii  ff 
Sigwart,  C.,  cxix,  cxxvii  f,  169,  176, 

183,  195,  199,  202,  205,  230 
Silva,  S.  da,  xxxiv,  xlii  f 
Sin,  50  f,  54,  140,  144 
Sin,  law,  and  grace,  cxxvi,   1 1 8 
Sobierre,  xxviii 
Socinians,  xli 
Socrates,  82 
"  Son  of  God,"  cxxvi,  57,  134,  160, 

200  f 

Sorrow,  83,  85  f,  90  f,  94,  100,  116, 

123  ff,  210  f 
Soul,  63  ff,   1 06  f,    121    ff,    126  ff, 

133  ff,  157  ff,  216  f,  227  f 
Spain  and   Portugal,  the   Jews  in, 

Spinoza,  his  birth,  xi 

his  parentage,  xvi  ff 
his  home  life,  xviii  ff 
his  education,  xxiv  ff 
his  excommunication,  xlv  f 
his  friends,  xlix  ff 
Spinoza-lane,  Ivi 
Spinoza  Museum,   frontispiece,   Ivii, 


Spinoza,  statue  of,  xcvii 
Spirits,  see  Vital  spirits 
Spyck,  H.  van  der,  Ixxxiii,  Ixxxvi, 

Ixxxviii,  xcv  f,  xcix 
Stolle,  G.,  civ  f,  cxvii 
Stoupe,  Ixxxvii  f 

Subjectum,  18  f,  27,  155,  159  f,  168 
Subsidiary  cause,  42,  193 
Sub  specie  boni,  73,  in  f 
Sub  specie  mali,  1 1 1 
Substance,  21  ff,  33,  55,  63  ff,  153  ff, 

172  f,  184,  186,  239 
Substance  not  passive,  29  f 
Substance  or  attribute,  29,  32,  34, 

52,  55,  174  f 
"  Substantial "        extension       and 

thought,  27  f,  63  f 
Surprise,  70  f,  77  f,  85,  208  f 
Synod  of  Dordrecht,  the,  xli 


Terror,  116 

Theophilus,  36  ff,  187 

"  Thing   of   reason,"    38,    59,    75  f, 

Things     reveal     themselves,      103, 

108  ff,  123,  133 
Thomas,  xciv 

Thomas  Aquinas,  20,  56,  172 
Thomists,  the,  56 
Thought,    27  f,    30,    52,    57,    63  ff, 

120  f,    128  f,    153  ff,    173  ff,   187, 

231  f 

Timidity,  90,  92,  214 
Titelmann,  P.,  xiv 
Torquemada,  xii 
Tractatus    de    Intellectus    Emcnda- 

tione,    xlix,    liii  ff,    Ixi,    Ixv,    xci, 

xcvi,  cii,  cxxiii,  198  f,  204,  211  f, 

219  f 
Tractatus   Politicus,   Ixxxiv,    xciii  f, 

Tractatus       Theologico    -    Politicus, 

Ixxiv  ff,     Ixxxi  ff,     Ixxxvii,     xci, 

xciv,  xcix,  cix,  cxvi  f,  180,  195  f, 

210,  221,  225,  233   f 

Transeunt  cause,  34,  41,  179 
Trendelenburg,  A.,  cxxviii,  190,  225 
Triple  Alliance,  the,  Ixxxv 
True  belief,  see  Belief 
Truth,  94,  102  ff,  220  f 
Truth  =  God,  78,  103,  210 
Tschirnhaus,  Ixix,  xc  f,  xciv 
Turks,  xcix,  72  f 
Tydemann,  Ixviii,  Ixxix 

UNDERSTANDING,  32,  37  f,  57  f,  99, 
106  f,  141  f,  147,  153,  184  f, 
199  ff 

an  immanent  cause,  30,  34,  180 
passive,  103,  108  ff,  123 
Union  of  Utrecht,  the,  xiv  f,  xlii 
Union  with  God,  40,  76,  147,  236 
Unity  of  Nature,  26  f,  32  ff 
Universal  cause,  42,  194  f 
Universals,  50,  59,  106,  197 
Uzziel,  Rabbi,  xxvi,  xxix 

VACILLATION,  90  ff,  213  f 

Vacuum,  28 

Veitch,  J.,  167 

Velen,  van,  Ixxxi,  Ixxxiii 

Virgil,  xxvii 

Virtue,  234 

Vital  spirits,  95,    121  f,    i26f,    130, 

135,  216  f,  228 
Vloten,  J.  van,  cvi,  cxxvii 
Voluntas  and  voluptas,  112,  224  f 



Voorburg,  Ixvii  ft 
Vossius,  xxvii  ft,  Ixix 
Vries,  S.  J.  de,  1,  lii  f.  Ixviii,  Ixxx, 

WATER,  29 

Well-being,  human,  105 
"  Whole,"  34,  38,  147,  236 

and  "  cause,"  34  f 

and  "  general,"  38 
Will,  69,  105  ft,  22$ 
William  the  Silent,  xiv  f,  xl,  xlvii 

William  II..  Ixxv  f 

William  III.,  Ixxvi,  Ixxxii,  Ixxxv  f 

Willis,  R.,  165 

Witt,  Jacob  de,  Ixxvi 

Witt,    Jan  de,  Ixix,   Ixxi,    Ixxv  ft, 

Ixxxii,  Ixxxiv  ft,  xciii 
Wolf,  L.,  xxx 
Wordsworth,  cii 
Worship,  1 1 6 
Wrath,  143 

ZACUTO,  M.,  xxii,  xxxi 

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By  JAMES  WARD,  Sc.D. 

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CAT.     NO.     1137 


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Spinoza's  short  treatise  on 

d,  man  and   his  well-being 


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